The fruits are gathered before they are ripe, and carefully dried. Commercial cubebs consist of the dried berries, similar in appearance to black pepper, but with stalks attached — the “tails” in “tailed pepper”. The dried pericarp is wrinkled, its color ranges from grayish-brown to black. The seed is hard, white and oily. The odor of cubebs is described as agreeable and aromatic. The taste, pungent, acrid, slightly bitter and persistent. It has been described as tasting like allspice, or like a cross between allspice and black pepper. It continues to be used as a flavoring agent for gins and cigarettes in the West, and as a seasoning for food in Indonesia.
Cubeb Berries can be ground as a seasoning for meat or used in sauces. A medieval recipe includes cubeb in making sauce sarcenes, which consists of almond milk and several spices. As an aromatic confectionery, cubeb was often candied and eaten whole. Cubeb can be used to enhance the flavor of savory soups. In Moroccan cuisine, cubeb is used in savory dishes and in pastries like markouts, little diamonds of semolina with honey and dates. It also appears occasionally in the list of ingredients for the spice mixture Ras el Hanout.
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