Balinese peppers

Balinese peppers (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Spice rises in the West

Prized for its rich, earthy flavor (there are notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, along with a little heat) and floral bouquet, the long pepper was all but forgotten by the West for centuries. But it's making a comeback -- now available beyond Indian and Asian markets. These Balinese long peppers come in an attractive cardboard box from Big Tree Farms, a company working with local organic farmers to encourage sustainability.

Crush the peppers (they're a little over an inch long) under a towel with a mallet, then grind them using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. The peppers can be used whole for stocks, brines and pickling solutions.

--Noelle Carter

About $9 for 4.4 ounces. Big Tree Farms Balinese long peppers are available at Surfas in Culver City, www.worldpantry.com, www.zingermans.com and www.salttraders.com.