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Peppercorns contain about 3 percent essential oil, which has the aromatic flavor or the bouquet of pepper. The pungent or sharp flavor of peppercorns is not contained in the essential oil, but rather in four chemicals found primarily in the pericarp. The non-volatile chemicals are peperine, chavicine, piperidine, and piperettine. They are classified as either lipids or alkaloids. Peperine and chavicine have the same molecular ingredients, but different structures. Both are pungent, but chavicine more so. When pepper is ground, chavicine gradually is transformed into peperine, resulting in a decrease of pungency.
Usage- Pepper is best ground directly on to food. With hot food it is best to add pepper well towards the end of the cooking process, to preserve its aroma. White pepper is used in white sauces rather than black pepper, which would give the sauce a speckled appearance. Green peppercorns can be mashed with garlic, cinnamon or to make a spiced butter or with cream to make a fresh and attractive sauce for fish. Pink peppercorns are called for in a variety of dishes, from poultry to vegetables and fish.