Piper Longum / Long Pepper
£5.83 – £8.44 (£7.00 inc. VAT)
Piper longum, Long pepper, sometimes called Indian long pepper or pipli, is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. Long pepper has a taste similar to, but hotter than that of its close relative Piper nigrum – from which black, green and white pepper are obtained.
The fruit of the pepper consists of many minuscule fruits – each about the size of a poppy seed – embedded in the surface of a flower spike that closely resembles a hazel tree catkin. Like Piper nigrum, the fruits contain the alkaloid piperine, which contributes to their pungency.
The oldest known reference to long pepper comes from ancient Indian textbooks of Ayurveda, where its medicinal and dietary uses are described in detail.
Though often used in medieval times in spice mixes like “strong powder”, long pepper is today a very rare ingredient in European cuisines, but it can still be found in Indian and Nepalese vegetable pickles, some North African spice mixtures, and in Indonesian and Malaysian cooking. It is readily available at Indian grocery stores, where it is usually labeled pippali.