This is a sprig of green peppercorns preserved in salt and vinegar. Green peppercorns are the unripe berries of the pepper plant; when dried and oxidized, they turn into the more familiar black peppercorns. Green peppercorns are quite perishable, so they are usually freeze-dried or, like these, packed in brine.
They taste fresher and milder than black peppercorns but still pack some heat and a slight tartness from the brine. In Thailand, they are used in curries and stir-fries. We have also seen them used in Indian cuisine and French sauces. We threw some into a vegetable stir-fry but are interested in discovering more ways to use them. Any suggestions?
Some recipes from around the Web:
• Avocado Soup with Green Peppercorns, from RecipeSource
• Meatballs With Green-Peppercorn Sauce, from Simply Recipes
• Sherried Turkey Cutlets with Green Peppercorns, from Gourmet
• Thai green curry with green peppercorns, from Cuisine.com.au
Fresh, green peppercorn vines are not common, but if you have access to them, you can also make your own pickles:
• Green Peppercorn Pickled in Brine, from My Diverse Kitchen
(Image: Emily Ho)