Organic Fairtrade Black Pepper Standard Jar- 55g Steenbergs details and description
Steenbergs Organic Fairtrade black pepper was the first spice in the UK to carry the Fairtrade mark - something we are pretty proud of - and it is organic as well. Over recent years, the plight of spice farmers, especially pepper and chilli growers, has received a quite a lot of publicity. Launching Steenbergs organic Fairtrade pepper was a positive step to changing the way people buy their spices, contributing directly to the social welfare of pepper farmers in the developing world, however there remains much to do to fight for equality throughout the world and to stop exploitation - so do your little bit by buying some organic Fairtrade black peppercorns, then grind them into your cooking with a clearer conscience.
As you would expect from Steenbergs Organic, our Fairtrade organic black pepper is a high quality organic black pepper. It is an organic black pepper (MG1 grade) currently from smallholders in either Kerala in Southern India or from smallholders in Sri Lanka. These black peppercorns are really dark and have a sharp bite that is full of those classic bold, rich and warm flavours characteristic of great black pepper.
Peppercorns are the fruit of a tropical, woody climbing vine, Piper nigrum, which can reach up to 10m in height (33ft). However, pepper vines need a host tree to grow up, with for example areca nut, eucalyptus or palm trees used or in Malaysia pepper vines are grown up poles or trellises. The pepper vine has dark-green oval leaves that vary in size depending on the cultivar grown, but thy average at about 18cm long (7 inches) and 12cm (5 inches) wide. Little flowers hang down in catkins of 3-15cm in length (1-6 inches) within the dense leafy foliage. From these, the peppercorn fruits grow on densely packed spikes of 5-15cm in length (2-6 inches), containing up to 50 individual berries. These pepper fruits start out an intense green then ripen to a yellow colour before turning a reddish-pink colour when fully ripe. for more on pepper, check out Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages or Wikipedia.
However, most pepper fruits are harvested when still green and processed to make green, black and white peppercorns. For black peppercorns, the berries are picked when they have grown to full size but have not yet ripened, traditionally some six months after initial flowering just as a couple of berries have started to change to a yellow colour. These still green fruits are then laid out on concrete drying yards in the sun to dry. During this process, the moisture level falls to around 12% of weight and the berries wrinkle up into their characteristic gnarled shape. Simultaneously, an enzymatic reaction takes place in the pericarp of the peppercorn which turns the green skin dark brown and produces the volatile oil, piperine, along with several other oleoresins that make the warming, oily flavours that are classic for black pepper's awesome taste. The black pepper is then cleaned from extraneous stuff, packed and stored. For more on the different grades of pepper, I have written a blog some time ago that expands on Pepper.
Steenbergs Organic Fairtrade Black Pepper is a core part of Steenbergs range of organic pepper. At Steenbergs, we have a wide range of organic spices, herbs, seasoning mixes, including curries, as well as Fairtrade spices and mixes. We import these from all around the world, then process them here in the Steenbergs spice factory in Ripon, North Yorkshire. We are a small, dedicated crew of people passionate about what we do, so for more information about spices, herbs, flavours and a general gossip about ingredients, cooking, Fairtrade or organic, why not call us on 01765 640 088 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.