Black pepper is part of the Piper genus and its scientific name is Piper nigrum.
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper, white pepper, or green pepper. Green peppercorns are simply the immature black peppercorns.
Black peppers are native to India and are extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is by far the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world’s Piper nigrum crop as of 2008.
Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavor and as a medicine. Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice. It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and its descendants. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. It may be found on nearly every dinner table in the industrialized world, often alongside table salt.
*Black and white peppercorns":
Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe drupes of the pepper plant. The drupes are cooked briefly in hot water, both to clean them and to prepare them for drying. The heat ruptures cell walls in the pepper, speeding the work of browning enzymes during drying. The drupes are dried in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dried, the spice is called black peppercorn. Black peppercorn is considered spicier than white peppercorn.
White pepper consists of the seed of the pepper plant alone, with the darker colored skin of the pepper fruit removed. This is usually accomplished by a process known as retting, where fully ripe peppers are soaked in water for about a week, during which the flesh of the pepper softens and decomposes. Rubbing then removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Alternative processes are used for removing the outer pepper from the seed, including decortication, the removal of the outer layer through mechanical, chemical or biological methods.6
White pepper is sometimes used in dishes like light-colored sauces or mashed potatoes, where ground black pepper would visibly stand out. They have differing flavor due to the presence of certain compounds in the outer fruit layer of the drupe that are not found in the seed.
Green pepper, like black, is made from the unripe drupes. Dried green peppercorns are treated in a way that retains the green color, such as treatment with sulfur dioxide, canned or freeze-drying. Pickled peppercorns, also green, are unripe drupes preserved in brine or vinegar. Fresh, unpreserved green pepper drupes, largely unknown in the West, are used in some Asian cuisines, particularly Thai cuisine.7 Their flavor has been described as piquant and fresh, with a bright aroma.8 They decay quickly if not dried or preserved.
*Orange pepper and red pepper":
A product called orange pepper or red pepper consists of ripe red pepper drupes preserved in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried using the same color-preserving techniques used to produce green pepper.9 Pink pepper from Piper nigrum is distinct from the more-common dried pink peppercorns, which are the fruits of a plant from a different family, the Peruvian pepper tree, Schinus molle, and its relative the Brazilian pepper tree, Schinus terebinthifolius.
Region of origin":
Peppercorns are often categorised under a label describing their region or port of origin. Two well-known types come from India’s Malabar Coast: Malabar pepper and Tellicherry pepper. Tellicherry is a higher-grade pepper, made from the largest, ripest 10% of fruits from Malabar plants grown on Mount Tellicherry.10 Sarawak pepper is produced in the Malaysian portion of Borneo.
Lampung pepper on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra. White Muntok pepper is another Indonesian product. Vietnam peppers are white and black pepper and come from Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Chu Se and Binh Phuoc.11
The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine growing to four metres in height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. It is a spreading vine, rooting readily where trailing stems touch the ground. The leaves are alternate, entire, five to ten centimetres long and three to six centimetres broad. The flowers are small, produced on pendulous spikes four to eight centimetres long at the leaf nodes, the spikes lengthening to seven to 15 centimeters as the fruit matures.12
Black pepper is grown in soil that is neither too dry nor susceptible to flooding, moist, well-drained and rich in organic matter (the vines do not do too well over an altitude of 3000 ft above sea level). The plants are propagated by cuttings about 40 to 50 centimetres long, tied up to neighbouring trees or climbing frames at distances of about two metres apart; trees with rough bark are favoured over those with smooth bark, as the pepper plants climb rough bark more readily. Competing plants are cleared away, leaving only sufficient trees to provide shade and permit free ventilation. The roots are covered in leaf mulch and manure, and the shoots are trimmed twice a year. On dry soils the young plants require watering every other day during the dry season for the first three years. The plants bear fruit from the fourth or fifth year, and typically continue to bear fruit for seven years. The cuttings are usually cultivars, selected both for yield and quality of fruit. A single stem will bear 20 to 30 fruiting spikes. The harvest begins as soon as one or two fruits at the base of the spikes begin to turn red, and before the fruit is mature, but when full grown and still hard; if allowed to ripen, the fruits lose pungency, and ultimately fall off and are lost. The spikes are collected and spread out to dry in the sun, then the peppercorns are stripped off the spikes.12
Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used.
Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, Limonene, Safrole, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches.29 Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging.30 Nevertheless, Black pepper either powdered or its decoction is widely used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.
Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing;31 Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer the question. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients.32
As a medicine, pepper appears in the Buddhist Samaññaphala Sutta, chapter five, as one of the few medicines allowed to be carried by a monk.33
Pepper contains small amounts of safrole, a mildly carcinogenic compound.32 Also, it is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines,34 being replaced by what is referred to as a bland diet. However, extracts from black pepper have been found to have antioxidant properties35 and anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili.36
Piperine present in black pepper acts as a thermogenic compound. Piperine enhances the thermogenesis of lipid and accelerates37 energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and beta-endorphin production in the brain.
Piperine and other components from black pepper may also be helpful in treating vitiligo,38 although when combined with UV radiation should be staggered due to the effect of light on the compound.39
Peppercorns (dried black pepper) are, by monetary value, the most widely traded spice in the world, accounting for 20 percent of all spice imports in 2002. The price of pepper can be volatile, and this figure fluctuates a great deal year to year; for example, pepper made up 39 percent of all spice imports in 1998.43 By weight, slightly more chilli peppers are traded worldwide than peppercorns. The International Pepper Exchange is located in Kochi, India. Participation on the IPE however is domestic with regulatory restrictions on international membership on local exchanges; something common to almost all Asian commodity exchanges.
As of 2008, Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world’s Piper nigrum crop as of 2008. Other major producers include India (19%), Brazil (13%), Indonesia (9%), Malaysia (8%), Sri Lanka (6%), China (6%), and Thailand (4%). Global pepper production peaked in 2003 with over 355,000 t (391,000 short tons), but has fallen to just over 271,000 t (299,000 short tons) by 2008 due to a series of issues including poor crop management, disease and weather. Vietnam dominates the export market, using almost none of its production domestically; however its 2007 crop fell by nearly 10% from the previous year to about 90,000 t (99,000 short tons). Similar crop yields occurred in 2007 across the other pepper producing nations as well.44
This variety typically produces fruit in the following colours: Radical Red.
It is an edible fruit that typically grows as an evergreen, which is defined as a plant that retains leaves throughout the year.
Normally grows with a vine-like habit.
India is believed to be where Black pepper originates from.
This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Black pepper have been kindly provided by our members.
Keep in mind when planting that Black pepper is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.
See our list of companion Plants for Black pepper to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.
These estimates for how long Black pepper takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.
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On the under leaf and on the stems small crystalline balls form that may resemble a sort of gall. They contain sugars (called exudates). After a while these balls turn black. Do not try to remove them as they are part of the normal growing process of this plant.
Peppercorn tree, pepper tree, Black pepper tree, White pepper, Green pepper, Pimienta negra