I just couldn’t believe my own eyes. Futzing around the garden the other day, I noticed a lush plant that from afar, looked like it had really healthy betel leaves. But on closer inspection the leaves were thicker, waxier and there were these strands of small green nubs. I got so excited and had to look it up, and yes, I think, for some bizarre reason, the crew have unwittingly coaxed a piper nigrum plant to grow and bloom in our backyard!!
Honestly, I can’t remember where this plant may have come from. A friend/reader dropped off several seedlings several years ago now, but I can’t recall if she included a pepper plant (it seems too small even now to have been from that batch). And the last time I had fresh green peppercorns was from a market in Vietnam many, many years ago. And you can’t just plant whole black peppercorns from a store as they are unlikely to germinate.
So I will go with a bird pooping a ripe peppercorn, a discarded batch of good peppercorns from the province that were never treated to anything, or just sheer bloody luck for this robust plant that happens to be in a large pot and is now growing like crazy with the recent rains in Manila.
I’m not quite sure when to pick the peppercorns, some websites say when they are dark green, others seem to show it darkening on the vine. But I can also see making a fresh green peppercorn sauce for a nice steak or two…
Still giddy from discovering this plant in the backyard, I took a closer look to take more photos and noticed the ribbons used to tie the vine to the makeshift bamboo trellis… sosyal peppercorns, is all I can say. :)