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Black pepper

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**Botanical and Culinary Aspects**:
– Black, green, white, and pink peppercorns are common varieties.
Black pepper is produced from the unripe drupe of the pepper plant.
– White pepper consists of the seed of ripe fruit with the skin removed.
– Green pepper is made from unripe drupes and is used in various cuisines for its fresh and spicy flavor.
– Peppers are dried berries of a tropical vine native to Kerala, India.
– Peppers are used to flavor a wide variety of dishes, spice blends, rubs, soups, stews, marinades, sauces, and even desserts.
– Essential oils from pepper are analyzed for aroma compounds, and sensory evaluation of pepper is crucial in the food industry.

**Historical and Cultural Significance**:
Black pepper is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia, known to Indian cooking since at least 2000 BCE.
– Pepper was a key spice in the Roman Empire, widely used as a seasoning and traded at the lost Port of Muziris.
Black pepper was used by Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II and played a role in Byzantium’s spice trade.
– Pepper was highly prized in ancient times, often used as currency and a symbol of wealth and status in medieval Europe.
– The spice route connecting Asia, Africa, and Europe was crucial for pepper trade, leading to the exploration of new trade routes.

**Health Benefits and Traditional Medicine**:
Black pepper has antioxidant, antibacterial properties, and may improve digestion by stimulating taste buds.
– Piperine in black pepper may enhance nutrient absorption and has been used in traditional medicine to treat colds and coughs.
Black pepper contains compounds with pungent and tingling properties, such as amides and piperidines.
– Few controlled studies have been conducted on black pepper’s medicinal properties.

**Trade and Commerce**:
– Pepper trade route dominated trade into Europe for a long time, with Malabar black pepper traveling a shorter route than long pepper.
– Italian city-states, especially Venice and Genoa, monopolized the spice trade in the Early Middle Ages.
– Pepper trade route from India to Italy during the Roman Empire was significant, contributing to the rise of Italian city-states funded by the spice trade.
– Prices of long pepper, white pepper, and black pepper in Rome were observed during ancient times.

**Nutritional and Flavor Profile**:
– One tablespoon of black pepper contains vitamin K, iron, manganese, and trace amounts of other essential nutrients, protein, and dietary fiber.
– The spiciness in pepper comes from piperine, with black pepper containing 4.6-9.7% piperine by mass.
– White pepper has a slightly higher piperine content, and the outer fruit layer contains aroma-contributing terpenes.
– The aroma of pepper is attributed to sesquiterpene rotundone, and flavor is affected by processing and storage.

Black pepper (Wikipedia)

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit (the peppercorn), which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit is a drupe (stonefruit) which is about 5 mm (0.20 in) in diameter (fresh and fully mature), dark red, and contains a stone which encloses a single pepper seed. Peppercorns and the ground pepper derived from them may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper (cooked and dried unripe fruit), green pepper (dried unripe fruit), or white pepper (ripe fruit seeds).

Black pepper
Pepper plant with immature peppercorns
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Magnoliids
Order: Piperales
Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper
P. nigrum
Binomial name
Piper nigrum

Black pepper is native to the Malabar Coast of India, and the Malabar pepper is extensively cultivated there and in other tropical regions. Ground, dried, and cooked peppercorns have been used since antiquity, both for flavour and as a traditional medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice, and is one of the most common spices added to cuisines around the world. Its spiciness is due to the chemical compound piperine, which is a different kind of spiciness from that of capsaicin characteristic of chili peppers. It is ubiquitous in the Western world as a seasoning, and is often paired with salt and available on dining tables in shakers or mills.

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