Black pepper is a seasoning produced from the fermented, dried, unripe red berries of the plant Piper nigrum. (The same fruit, when unripe green, can be dried, or preserved in brine or vinegar, to make green peppercorns; or when ripe, dried and dehusked to make white peppercorns.)
It is one of the most common spices in European cuisine and its descendants, having been known and prized since antiquity due to its strong flavour and its ability, critical during the Middle Ages, to conceal the taste of partially rotten meat. It is said that Alaric the Visigoth demanded from Rome a ransom of gold, silver, and pepper.
Ground black pepper may be found on nearly every dinner table in some parts of the world, accompanied by its constant companion salt.