Black Pepper, Or "Malabar Berry". Types, Cultivation, Application. Photo

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Black Pepper, Or "Malabar Berry". Types, Cultivation, Application. Photo
Black Pepper, Or "Malabar Berry". Types, Cultivation, Application. Photo

Video: Black Pepper, Or "Malabar Berry". Types, Cultivation, Application. Photo

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Pepper - is the fruit of a climbing bush. Black pepper is sometimes also called "Malabar berry" because of its natural habitat - the Malabar Islands (in the south of India). In nature, shrubs twine around trees, climbing up. Since pepper became an agricultural crop, poles have been installed for it on plantations, as for hops, and this is limited to its growth to a height of 4-5 m.The plant is a climbing shrub, reaching a height of 15 m.Leaves are 80 -100 mm. After the end of flowering, round fruits grow, at first they are green, then they turn yellow or red.

Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

The brush is 80-140 mm long and contains 20-30 drupes. To get black pepper, the fruits are harvested unripe - green or slightly yellow. When dried in the sun, they shrink and turn black. Pepper fruits ripen at different times, so the period of its collection is greatly extended.

There are more than one and a half thousand species of plants belonging to the genus of peppers, the pepper family. However, only 5-6 species that grow in South Asia are used as a spice. Real peppers include black pepper, white pepper, cubeb pepper, long pepper, and African pepper.


  • Characteristics and origins of black pepper
  • Characteristics of black pepper by origin
  • Growing black pepper
  • Applying black pepper
  • Varieties of spices
  • Medicinal uses of black pepper

Characteristics and origins of black pepper

Black pepper - dried unripe fruits of the tropical perennial shrub of the same name. Dried unripe fruits look like small black peas (hence the name - black pepper) with a pleasant aroma. Black pepper is native to the eastern shores of India, where it still grows as a wild jungle plant. Then he penetrated into Indonesia and other countries of Southeast Asia. To Africa and America - only in the XX century. Black pepper was the reason for the discovery of America and the appearance of red pepper. After all, it was for him and other Indian spices that Christopher Columbus equipped the expedition.

In Sanskrit, black pepper is called marich. This is one of the names of the sun, and black pepper got its name due to its high content of solar energy.

The Greek name 'peperi', Latin 'piper', English 'pepper', and also Russian 'pepper' - all derive from the Sanskrit name for pepper 'pippali'.

In India, pepper has been highly prized since time immemorial and was one of the first oriental spices to conquer Europe, beginning in Ancient Greece and Rome. A student of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher Theophrastus (372-287 BC), who is sometimes called the "father of botany", divided pepper into two types: black and long. From the Malabar coast of India, pepper has traveled the world both by sea and by land. It was delivered through the Persian Gulf to Arabia, and through the Red Sea to Egypt.

Later, in 40 AD, ships of the Roman Empire joined the pepper trade. Direct trade between Rome and India helped to break the Arab monopoly on all kinds of "spicy treasures." In the Roman Empire, pepper became a popular commercial commodity. Frederic Rosengarten writes in his Book of Spices that during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the pepper trade reached such an unprecedented scale that in 176 AD. customs tax in Alexandria was levied mainly with long or white pepper.

Black pepper was not included in the tax filing, perhaps the authorities did it for political reasons, fearing to cause discontent among the people. To prevent the sacking of Rome by the troops of the Gothic king and conqueror Alaric in 408 AD. the Romans paid him a tribute, which, among other riches, included 3,000 pounds of pepper.

Cosmas Indinopleustes, a merchant who later became a famous holy monk and traveled to India and Ceylon, described in detail in his book Topography of a Christian the ways in which the inhabitants of the Malabar Peninsula grew, collected and cooked pepper. Shortly thereafter in the 1st century AD. Indian colonists established pepper plantations in Java. Marco Polo, in his memoirs, describes the "peppery abundance" in Java. He mentions Chinese ships that went out to sea, each loaded with 6,000 baskets of pepper.

In the Middle Ages, pepper took an important place in European cooking. It was used to spice and taste good raw and perishable food, and mainly to drown out the disgusting taste of meat.

Whole peppercorns were then very expensive and were accepted by the authorities as payment for taxes, taxes, debts, and also as a dowry. In 1180, during the reign of Henry II, the "Whole Pepper Merchants Guild" began to operate in London, which was then renamed the "Spice Merchants Guild", and a century later became known as the "Grocers Company", under which it successfully develops to this day …

In the 13th century, the economic growth and great wealth of Venice and Genoa, especially the latter, were achieved mainly through the spice trade. The Portuguese and the Spaniards watched this unheard-of enrichment with envy. The fall (in 1453) of Constantinople and the unbearable taxes of the Muslim rulers on the spice trade further exacerbated the need for their sea voyage to the East.

Europe's need for spices, especially black pepper, and the desire to fabulously enrich themselves were the main stimuli of Columbus's expedition, and the sea voyage of Vasco de Gama. All this allowed the Portuguese to take possession of the monopoly on the sale of spices, which they retained for 100 years. After several decisive battles with the Muslims, they took possession of the coveted Malabar coast of India (in 1511), Ceylon, Java and Sumatra.

Later, the monopoly on the production of pepper passed into the hands of the Dutch, and belonged to them until 1799, when their East European company went bankrupt. At the same time, the American captain Carnes moored a schooner in New York harbor with a cargo of black pepper, from the sale of which he rescued $ 100,000. Over the next 50 years (in the first half of the 19th century), American merchant ships took a major role in the world pepper trade. It is known that this business gave birth to the first American millionaires.

Currently, the largest producers of pepper are India, Indonesia and Brazil, which produce over 40,000 tons of pepper per year. The first consumers of black pepper on the list are the USA, Russia, Germany, Japan and England.

Black pepper plantation
Black pepper plantation

Characteristics of black pepper by origin

  1. MALABAR. A large amount of black pepper comes from Kerala, which is located in the southwestern part of India (Malabar coast). Today all Indian peppers are usually called Malabar. The pepper berries are large, with a strong aroma. Its essential oils contain a rich aromatic bouquet. It has a high content of piperine, and this gives it a spice.
  2. LAMPONG. Indonesia and mainly the island of Sumatra is another major producer of top quality black pepper. The pepper is grown in Lampong province in southeastern Sumatra and is shipped from the port of Pandang. Lampong pepper is not inferior in quality to Indian. It is just as spicy and aromatic, it contains a lot of essential oils and piperine. A characteristic difference from the Indian - the pepper is smaller in size. Ground Lampong pepper is slightly lighter than Indian pepper.
  3. BRAZILIAN. Brazil is a large pepper producer that has recently entered the market. Peppers are grown in the northern state of Pará, along the Amazon River. The plantations were established only in 1930, and the harvest sufficient for export trade was obtained only in 1957.Since then, Brazil has been one of the main suppliers of black and white peppers. Brazilian black pepper has a relatively smooth surface and a distinctive appearance. The peel of the pepper is black and the inside of the berry is creamy white.
  4. CHINESE. Only recently it began to be exported to the foreign market, although it is grown in China constantly. It is very light in color and soft in taste. It is grown mainly on the island of Hainan, southeast of the mainland.
  5. SARAVAK. The former British colony of Sarawak (now part of the Republic of Malaysia) along the northwest coast of Borneo is another global pepper producer. Port of shipment v Kuching. The bulk of the Sarawak pepper goes to Singapore for reloading and new shipments around the world, especially to the UK, Japan and Germany.
  6. CEYLON. Now the country is officially called Sri Lanka, but pepper (like tea) is called Ceylon. It departs from Colombo, the capital and main seaport of the country. This pepper is used mainly for the production of extracts, as it has a high content of pungent essential oils, piperine and capsicin.

OTHER. These are Madagascar, Thailand, Nigeria and Vietnam. Pepper is produced in small quantities. Now Vietnam is strengthening its position, but the quality of pepper there does not always meet the requirements for a good quality pepper.

There are two main qualities of pepper - its sharpness (due to piperine) and aroma (depends on the content of essential oils). The best is considered the densest and heaviest of the highest quality peppers from the Malabar coast of India. This is Malabar Grade 1 or MG1. Its density is 570-580 grams per liter. This pepper is very economical to use and is recommended for use in the production of cooked sausages.

Growing black pepper

Black pepper is grown in Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Brazil. Plant growth is limited to a height of 5 m. It grows on high rods, similar to hops. Begins to bear fruit in three years. Planting can be used for 15-20 years. The crop is harvested when the fruit begins to turn red. In the process of drying in the sun, the fruits turn black. Black pepper is better, the harder it is, the darker, the heavier it is. 1000 grains of good quality black pepper should weigh exactly 460 g. Therefore, in ancient times, black pepper served as weighing weights for pharmaceutical goods requiring great accuracy.

White pepper has a more delicate taste, noble and strong aroma and is valued higher. White pepper is obtained in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia.

Content of nutrients: The pungency of pepper depends on piperine. In addition, it contains pyroline, havicin, sugars, enzyme, essential oils and starch, alkaloids, and gum. It should be borne in mind that essential oils volatilize if pepper is not stored properly.

Black pepper fruit
Black pepper fruit
Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

Applying black pepper

Black pepper aids digestion, and the Romans consumed large quantities of it. But this cannot be recommended. However, in the quantities in which it is used in our kitchen, it is not harmful to health.

Pepper is used for soups, gravies, sauces, vegetable salads, marinades, in the preparation of all types of meat, including game, savoy cabbage, beans, peas, lentils, sauerkraut, goulash, eggs, cheeses, tomatoes, fish, canned vegetables and for large the number of other dishes that are prepared in our kitchen. Home slaughter of pigs, the manufacture of sausages and a number of meat products cannot do without black pepper.

Black pepper is the most versatile spice for many dishes. It goes on sale in the form of peas or ground. Ground peppercorns have the greatest aroma. In ground form, black pepper is used for dressing various dishes, minced meat, fillings. Pepper is added to dishes shortly before readiness, otherwise, with prolonged cooking, the dish acquires excessive bitterness. It is recommended to store ground pepper in a hermetically sealed package, otherwise it will quickly fizzle out and lose its properties.

Along with pepper fragrant and chilli, pepper widely used in the canning industry in the production of vegetable marinades, salads, meat. If in the listed cases black pepper is used in the form of peas, then in soups, gravies and sauces, sausages and cheeses - only ground.

Black pepper fruits in different stages of ripening
Black pepper fruits in different stages of ripening

Varieties of spices

Black pepper is obtained from the unripe fruits of the plant. In order to clean them and prepare them for drying, the fruits are quickly scalded in hot water. The heat treatment destroys the cell wall of the pepper, speeding up the enzymes responsible for the browning. The fruits are then dried in the sun or by machines for several days. During this time, the shell of the fruit shrinks and darkens around the seed, forming a thin wrinkled layer of black color. The fruits dried in this way are called black peppercorns. Black pepper is used both in whole peas and in ground - as a separate seasoning, and in a variety of mixtures.

White pepper is a mature black pepper seed that is devoid of a pericarp. Typically, ripe fruits are soaked in water for about one week to obtain white pepper. As a result of soaking, the shell of the fruit decomposes and softens, after which it is separated and the remaining seeds are dried. There are also alternative ways of separating the shell from pepper seeds, including mechanical, chemical and biological ones.

White pepper has a light gray color, has a more delicate taste, noble and strong aroma. This spice has almost the same uses as black pepper.

Green peppers, like black ones, are obtained from unripe fruits. Dried green peas are processed to retain their green color, for example, using sulfur dioxide or by freeze-drying (dry drying). Likewise, pink (red) peppers are also obtained from ripe fruits (pink pepper from Piper nigrum should be distinguished from the more common pink pepper made from Peruvian or Brazilian peppers).

Also, green and red peppercorns are pickled or used fresh (mainly in Thai cuisine). The scent of fresh peas is described as fresh and savory, with a strong aroma.

Medicinal uses of black pepper

Affects the systems: digestive, circulatory, respiratory.

General tonic, expectorant, carminative, anthelmintic.

Research shows that, in addition to the properties listed above, pepper reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases: it thins the blood, destroys clots, and improves blood circulation. It also aids in digestion, stimulates the metabolic process, activating the burning of calories. Pepper contains three times more vitamin C than orange. It is also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, carotene and B vitamins. In addition, pepper can enhance the effect of other medicinal plants.

Recommended for: chronic indigestion, toxins in the rectum, impaired metabolism, obesity, high temperature, fever, during the crisis of colds. Pepper has long been referred to as medicinal plants. It was also used by the Maya to relieve pain, cough, sore throat, asthma and other respiratory diseases.

You can't do without pepper in the kitchen. This spice is so widespread that in public catering establishments ground pepper is placed in special pepper pots on tables in dining rooms. And any visitor can pepper the dish at his own discretion and taste.

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