About Black Pepper
About Black Pepper
About Black Pepper
It is impossible for most people not to be familiar with this herb that is more commonly known to be a spice and a seasoning for any person who cooks and eats. It is not really surprising that the taste bud of any person has different kinds of levels of taste satisfaction. A certain level of taste is what most people look for, and this is only natural since the aroma and taste of food that is prepared would usually need seasoning and spices to sooth the variable taste buds of most people who want to enjoy their meals. For cooks and chefs, the proper amount of addition of pepper in their special dishes is also a critical aspect in making such meals something that most people would look for.
Dried, ground pepper is one of the most common spices in American and European cuisines. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. Ground black peppercorn, usually referred to simply as "pepper", something that people would usually find in a shaker or pepper mill on every dinner table. Usually black pepper can be easily spotted together with the usual table salt, another spice that aids in adding saltiness and flavor for meals served to most people.
The Pepper Plant: The Point of Origin
Pepper is produced from pepper plants, a perennial woody vine growing to four meters in height on trees and poles. The leaves are five to ten centimeters long and three to six centimeters wide. Flowers are small, produced on spikes which measure approximately four to eight centimeters in length, the spikes length are seven to 15 centimeters one the fruit blooms.
Black pepper is harvested in soil that is of proper climate levels, not too dry nor too wet. The plants are grown by about 40 to 50 centimeters long, tied to trees at recommended distances for proper spacing. Intrusive plants are set aside, leaving only a handful of tree plants to serve as shades. Plants that are exposed to dry soil require watering on alternate days during the dry season for the first couple of years. The fruits from the plant would usually come out on the fourth or fifth year, and continue to bear fruit for seven years.
A Brief History
Pepper is more commonly used used as a spice in India since the early times. It was first harvested in the Malabar Coast. Peppercorns were referred to as black gold and used as a form of commodity money as a key source of making trades in the early years. Peppercorn rent still exists to this day and is a very familiar term to most people today.
The ancient history of black pepper is often mistaken with long peppers, the dried fruit of closely related Piper longum. The Romans knew of both and referred to either as just "piper". In fact, it was not until the discovery of the New World that the popularity of long peppers was overshadowed. Chile peppers, some of which when dried are similar in shape and taste to long pepper. These were easier to grow in a variety of locations in selected parts of Europe.
In the Middle Ages, virtually all of the black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa were spread over the India Malabar region. Pepper was also being grown in Java, Sunda, Sumatra, Madagascar, Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, but these areas traded mainly with China, or used the pepper locally. Ports in the Malabar area also served as a stop-off point for much of the trade of other well-known spices.
Black pepper, along with other spices from India, helped evolve and changed the course of history. It was in some part the preciousness of these spices that led to the European efforts to find a sea route to India.
Health Benefits of Black Pepper
Pepper was considered both a historical seasoning and a medicine supplement. Long pepper was often the preferred medication over the other but both had the preference of most people as far as medical inclinations were concerned.
It is common to note that pepper causes sneezing. This is due to the fact that certain components irritate the nostrils, causing people to sneezing upon smelling the said herb. While some parties claim otherwise and look towards the dust that comes with the ground pepper as the main cause for such nostril distortions but such has never been proven then up to this day.
Black peppercorns were some samples of medical remedies in India. The Syriac Book of Medicines prescribes pepper for some illnesses as constipation, diarrhea, heart diseases, hernia, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pains, liver problems, lung disease, tooth decay, and toothaches. The number of medical benefits soon extended towards eye treatments as well, although the issue of application of pepper towards the eyes may cause more harm than good due to irritation issues.
Pepper is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines, becoming what is referred to as a bland diet.
Where does the Aroma and Taste Enhancement of Pepper Come From?
Perhaps what most curious people would be thinking to this day is where do the actual components of pepper, like piperine come from and how it impacts that taste glands of most people who prefer to use pepper as an additive and food supplement for them to be able to digest meals with gusto.
Piperine is an alkaloid responsible for the taste and smell of pepper. Sometimes considered to be irritating to the human nose, this substance is believed to have medical attributes as well and a key component in insecticides. A note of caution however to people who intake other forms of medical supplements for their health concerns, the intervention of licensed psychologists is also a good way to eliminate health risks since its effect on the various human body systems like the digestive and respiratory systems may further complicate various illnesses rather than actually providing medical relief and healing. Thinking ahead, for some people who may think that such health risks may not be that critical is still different from the opinion of an actual medical professional hence a conservative approach to such issues concerning overall health.