Black pepper is native to Kerala in Southwestern India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions.
Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity both for its 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. It is ubiquitous in the modern world as a seasoning and is often paired with salt.
Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from piperine derived both from the outer fruit and the seed. Black pepper contains between 4.6 and 9.7% piperine by mass, and white pepper slightly more than that.
Pepper loses flavor and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage helps preserve its spiciness longer.
The pepper plant is a perennial woody vinegrowing up to 4 m (13 ft) in height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. A single stem bears 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 fully mature, and still hard; if allowed to ripen completely, the fruit 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.
Black pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure several illnesses, such as constipation, insomnia, oral abscesses, sunburn, and toothaches, among others.
All pics are taken in my native town Chikmagalur, Karnataka.
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