Country Of OriginIndia
IngBlack peppercornsGeneral Description
Pepper is the dried berry of Piper nigrum. This vine which can
grow up to ten feet tall is indigenous to India and Asia. Pepper is
actually berries that are picked about nine months after flowering.
(This is true pepper, and should not be confused with paprika,
cayenne pepper, chili pepper, red pepper, and bell pepper, which
are fruits from the capiscum family.) Black Pepper, the spiciest,
is berries that are picked unripe. The berries used for White
Pepper are ripened on the vine and soaked so that their outer hulls
are easily removed. Green Peppercorns are immature berries which
are freezedried or packed in brine for preservation.
Pepper is grown in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brazil.
Traditional Ethnic Uses
Pepper is a universal table condiment used to flavor all types of
dishes in cuisines worldwide. Its commonly used in stocks,
pickling, and sausages.
Taste and Aroma
Black Pepper has a sharp, pungent aroma and flavor. White Pepper
is hotter, less subtle and mildly fermented. Green Peppercorn is
milder in flavor and has a fresh taste.
History/Region of Origin
Since the Roman times, Pepper has been the most important spice.
The cities of Alexandria, Genoa, and Venice owed their economic
success to Pepper. Three thousand year old Sanskrit literature
mentions Pepper. It was one of the earliest items traded Asia and
Europe. In 1101, victorious Genovese soldiers were each given two
pounds of Pepper as a gift for their successful Palestinian
conquest. In the Middle Ages, Europeans often used Pepper to pay
rent, dowries, and taxes, and Shakespeare mentions Pepper in his
plays. The need for Pepper inspired Spanish exploration and spice
trade in the 15th century.