To produce black pepper, the immature berries are picked, fermented, and dried. After wrinkling and turning brown/black the entire peppercorn is ground. It can be used in all foods except sweets.Whole or ground, and any color, pepper is a critical ingredient in almost every cuisine. For the ultimate in fresh flavor, buy whole peppercorns and grind or crush them when needed. When convenience and speed are essential, pre-ground pepper (whether coarse ground or fine) will provide much of the flavor and zing you want in your cooking. Keep ground pepper tightly sealed to preserve freshness.