Cubeb tailed pepper
Cubeb pepper originating from the Indonesian island of Java is called the "true cubeb". The dried fruits of this 'tailed' pepper are gray-brown and have a pleasant aroma. Cubeb-pepper is not that sharp, though having a slightly bitter undertone, similar to that of the mbongô, alligator pepper.
Cubeb, tailed peper
The cubeb pepper is native to humid tropical forests and mangroves. Its origin is Indonesian Java, but it’s now also grown on Sumatra, and outside Indonesia in Sri Lanka, India, Sierra Leone and Congo.
Cubeb pepper is traditionally used in Arab cuisine, which is why some Ras el hanout contains this ‘true cubeb’. In the Middle Ages cubeb pepper was a favorite, but exclusive spice in many parts of Europe. In the 17th century the use came to an end in European cuisines, possibly because the Chinese used it to exorcise demons, but more likely by the strong emergence of other peppers.
The name cubeb comes from the Javanese ‘kukumus’, a word that has been used in Greek in the 4th century as ‘kokamon' showing there was an early trade with the Javanese, because the Piper cuceba only grew there.
The dried fruits are gray-brown coloured and have a pleasant aroma. They are not very pungent, and their warm flavour resembles allspice and nutmeg, accompanied by menthol and citrus tones.
The 'tail' is in fact an abnormal prolongation of the pericarp of the fruit at its base. When the fruits are full-grown, but whilst they are still green and unripe, they are stripped from the rachis, bringing with them the stalk-like prolongation of the pericarp which remains permanently attached to them, whence the name ' tailed pepper '.
Use cubeb like black pepper, crushed or ground, including the stalks.
In Indonesian cuisine, with meat and vegetables, often as a replacement of allspice (and nutmeg), for example in sausages. Choose to cook the cubeb some longer in stews and soups, normally add it at the last minute to a dish. Try it also with duck, pigeon and crustaceans.
Cubeb combines with stone fruit (drupe) like apricot, in champagne or sparkling wine and in gin.
Like all peppers, it is strongly advised to grind the cubeb pepper shortly before eating. You get most profit from the aromas adding to a dish at the last minute, and preferably having it only slightly cooked.
Kept in a dry, dark and pretty cool place, it will keep its aromas certainly for two years. The expiry date on the package is an indication. Once pepper is ground it will retain its flavour approximately three months, degrading rapidly thereafter.
- Botanical name
- Piper cubeba
- 100% Cubeb pepper
- Best before
- Allergy advice
- Does not contain allergenen
- Transparant pouch or test tube (10ml)
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