Long pepper is a plant from the Piperacea family with very small fruits in a spike-shaped habit for a pepper plant. The best-known types are the Indian and Javanese long pepper, Piper longum and Piper retrofractum. Long pepper is a snow-covered pepper variety, the pepper market has been dominated since the seventeenth century by the dried round berries of the Piper nigrum (black pepper) and since the eighteenth century its most formidable competitor: the Capsicum or chili pepper.
In the period before that, spices were scarce and expensive, and many spices from Asia, mostly India, were transported overland, due to a lack of transport options - bigger ships came later - and skills. Because how could you sail east with the prevailing wind direction in monsoon time ?
The prevailing peppers in the Middle Ages and before were the African pepper, called paradise grain, and the long pepper, which was used as a medicine until the sixth century following the Indian Ayurveda, only after that also as a seasoning. Only then did the long pepper become a popular culinary ingredient in Greek and Roman cuisine, and from there in the rest of Europe.
Slowly, the long pepper is gaining a place next to the black pepper, especially the varieties grown in India and Indonesia. In this, the long pepper follows the tradition of the black pepper. It must be said that not all long peppers from there can compete with the 'small' long peppers from elsewhere, which have the disadvantage of being scarcer and more expensive. L'histoire se répète.
We currently supply two varieties of Piper retrofractum, which are distinguished by their too ruddy red color when they ripen: the Japanese pipatsu and the Cambodian long pepper, from the same region as the famous Kampot pepper, and one variety of Piper longum, from the Vietnamese Binh Duong. The delivery of the Japanese pipatsu and the Binh duong is temporarily 'complicated'. As a result, we currently only supply the red long Kampot pepper.
We are missing two other long peppers in this overview, the African Piper capense (Cape long pepper), and Assam pepper, the long pepper shaped like a blackberry, which is even more complex in taste than the spike-shaped long peppers. Despite a very long search, we have not yet succeeded in obtaining a high-quality and reasonably affordable Cape long pepper. The search continues unabated. We do offer the Assam pepper, the Piper mulesua.
Try this other pepper. Enjoy its warm, earthy aromas and complexity that make long peppers ideal for use in curries and stews (whole, broken or ground) but also great for use as a substitute for black pepper in the pepper mill. In that case it is recommended to bruise the spike first and remove the spindle.
How do you grind a long pepper?
Just like nutmeg, you can grind long pepper by grating it, for example using a small Microplane grater, which you can also use for garlic and ginger. Or our Billund nutmeg mill, with its practical turning mechanism. With that you are guaranteed to keep your fingers whole, and you don't waste much pepper !