Very late this year due to late rains in 2020, the pepper harvest is finally underway.
To maximise on the crop of red pepper, we are employing the highly labour-intensive tactic of picking individual ripe berries now while leaving the remainder of the spike with the unripe berries on the vine to ripen later. Normally the whole spike is harvested and any ripe berries removed afterwards and put aside for red and white pepper.
The green berries are dried to produce black peppercorns.
In a commodity pepper producing environment, the spikes are harvested before any ripe berries appear to avoid loss to birds, insects and moulds, etc. The problem with that is that the seeds inside the berries are unlikely to be fully developed and thus the piperine oil content reduced. Here in Kampot we always allow some berries to appear on a spike before it is harvested. This indicates that the green berries on the same spike are at the point of ripening and that the seed is fully developed, producing a superior black peppercorn.
Any red berries that are damaged or not quite fully ripe are soaked in cold water for 2 days, then the skins removed by manually rubbing them. Hence the white peppercorns are the seeds of the pepper berries with the skins and flesh removed.
Please feel free to share with friends who you think might be interested in how Kampot Pepper is produced.