Black pepper, or "Malabar berry"
Pepper - represents the fruits of a climbing bush. Black pepper is sometimes called the "Malabar berry" in the place of its natural habitat - the Malabar Islands (in southern India). In nature, a bush shrouds trees, climbing up. Since pepper has become an agricultural crop, poles are planted on it for plantations, as for hops, and this limits its growth to a height of 4-5 m. The plant is a climbing shrub reaching a height of 15 m. The leaves have a length of 80 -100 mm. After flowering, round fruits grow, first green, then they turn yellow or red.
The length of the brush is 80-140 mm, it contains 20-30 drupes. To get black pepper, the fruits are harvested unripe - green or slightly yellowing. During drying under the sun, they wrinkle and blacken. The fruits of pepper ripen at the same time, so the period of its collection is greatly extended.
The plants belonging to the genus of peppers, a family of peppers, there are more than one and a half thousand species. However, as a spice, only 5-6 species are used, growing in South Asia. Real peppers include black pepper, white pepper, cubeb pepper, long pepper and African pepper.
Characteristics and origin of black pepper
Black pepper - dried unripe fruits of the same tropical perennial shrub. Dried unripe fruits look like small black peas (hence the name - black pepper) with a pleasant aroma. Black pepper hails from the eastern coast of India, where it still grows like a wild jungle plant. He then infiltrated Indonesia and other countries of Southeast Asia. To Africa and America - only in the 20th century. Black pepper caused the discovery of America and the appearance of red pepper. After all, it was behind 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 this name due to the large content of solar energy in it.
The Greek name ‘peperi’, the Latin name ‘piper’, the English ‘pepper’, and the Russian “pepper” - all come from the Sanskrit name for pepper ‘pippali’.
In India, pepper has been highly regarded since time immemorial and was one of the first oriental spices that conquered Europe, starting from Ancient Greece and Rome. A student of Aristotle, the Greek philosopher Theophrastus (372-287 BC), who is sometimes called the "father of botany," divided the pepper into two types: black and long. From the Malabar coast of India, pepper traveled the world both by sea and by land. Through the Persian Gulf it was delivered to Arabia, and through the Red Sea - to Egypt.
Later, in the year 40 AD, ships of the Roman Empire joined the pepper trade. Direct trade between Rome and India helped eliminate the Arab monopoly on all kinds of "spicy treasures." In the Roman Empire, pepper took a strong place among the best-selling commercial goods. Frederic Rosengarten in his Book of Spices writes that during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the pepper trade reached such an unprecedented scale that in 176 CE the customs tax in Alexandria was levied mainly on long or white pepper.
Black pepper was not included in the tax filing, perhaps the authorities did it because of political considerations, fearing to cause discontent among the people. To prevent the looting of Rome by the troops of the Gothic king and conqueror Alaric in 408 A.D. the Romans paid him tribute, which, among other wealth, 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 "Christian Topography" the methods of growing, collecting and cooking pepper by the inhabitants of the Malabar Peninsula. Shortly afterwards, in the 1st century A.D. Indian colonists founded pepper plantations in Java. Marco Polo in his memoirs describes the "peppery abundance" in Java. He mentions Chinese ships that went to sea, each loaded with 6,000 baskets of pepper.
In the Middle Ages, pepper took an important place in the culinary Europe. It was used to spice up and taste good raw and perishable food, and mainly to drown out the disgusting taste of meat.
Whole peas of pepper were then very expensive and accepted by the authorities as payment of taxes, taxes, debts, and also as a dowry. In 1180, during the reign of Henry II, the “Whole Peppers Merchants Guild” began to operate in London, which was later renamed the “Spice Merchants Guild”, and a century later it became known as the “Grocers Company”, under which it has been successfully developing to this day. .
In the 13th century, the economic growth and great wealth of Venice and Genoa, especially the latter, were achieved mainly due to the spice trade. The Portuguese and the Spaniards enviously watched this unheard of enrichment. The fall (in 1453) of Constantinople and the overwhelming taxes of 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 be fabulously enriched became the main incentives for the Columbus expedition, and Vasco de Gama’s sea voyage. All this allowed the Portuguese to seize the monopoly on the sale of spices, which they maintained 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 pepper production 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 Carns moored a schooner in New York’s harbor with a load of black pepper, from the sale of which he earned $ 100,000. In the next 50 years (in the first half of the 19th century), American merchant ships took a major role in the world trade in pepper. 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 more than 40,000 tons of pepper per year. The first consumers of black pepper are the United States, Russia, Germany, Japan and England.
Characteristics of black pepper by origin
- MALABAR. A large amount of black pepper comes from Kerala, which is located in the southwestern part of India (Malabar coast). Today, Malabar is usually called whole Indian pepper. 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 pungency.
- LAMPONG. Indonesia, and mainly the island of Sumatra, is another major producer of premium black pepper. Peppers are grown in the province of Lamphong in the southeastern part of the island of Sumatra, and shipping goes to the port of Pandang. Peppers from Lamphong are not inferior in quality to Indian. It is just as spicy and aromatic, it contains a high content of essential oils and piperine. A characteristic difference from Indian - pepper is smaller in size. Ground pepper from Lamphong is slightly lighter than Indian.
- BRAZILIAN. Brazil is the most recent major pepper producer on the market. Peppers are grown in the northern state of Para, along the Amazon River. Plantations were established only in 1930, and a sufficient harvest for export trade was received only in 1957. Since then, Brazil has been one of the main suppliers of black and white pepper. Brazilian black pepper has a relatively smooth surface and a peculiar appearance. The peel of the pepper v is black, and inside the berry is creamy white.
- CHINESE. Only recently has it begun to be exported to the foreign market, although it is constantly grown in China. It is very light in color and soft in taste. It is grown mainly on the island of Hainan, southeast of the mainland.
- SARAWAK. The former British colony of Sarawak (now part of the Republic of Malaysia) along the northwestern coast of Borneo is another world pepper producer. Port of shipment v Kuching. The bulk of Sarawak pepper goes to Singapore for transshipments and new shipments worldwide, especially to the UK, Japan and Germany.
- CEYLON. Now the country is officially called Sri Lanka, but pepper (like tea) is called Ceylon. He leaves from Colombo - the capital and main seaport of the country. This pepper is mainly used for the production of extracts, as it has a high content of burning essential oils, piperine and capsicin.
OTHER. These are Madagascar, Thailand, Nigeria and Vietnam. Peppers are produced in small quantities. Now Vietnam is strengthening its position, but the quality of pepper there does not always meet the requirements for 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 pepper of the highest quality from the Malabar coast of India. This is Malabar Grade 1 or MG1. Its density is 570-580 grams per liter. Such 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, in Brazil. Begins to bear fruit in three years. Planting can be used for 15-20 years. Harvested when the fruits begin to turn red. In the process of drying in the sun, the fruits turn black. Black pepper is better, the harder, darker, heavier. 1000 grains of black pepper of good quality should weigh exactly 460 g. Therefore, in ancient times, black pepper served as a balance for weighing pharmaceutical products that require great accuracy.
White pepper has a finer taste, noble and strong aroma and is valued higher. Get white pepper in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia.
The content of nutrients: The severity of pepper depends on piperine. In addition, it contains pyroline, havitsin, sugar, an enzyme, essential oils and starch, alkaloids, and gum. It should be borne in mind that essential oils volatilize when stored improperly.
The use of black pepper
Black pepper promotes digestion, the Romans consumed it in large quantities. But this cannot be recommended. However, in the quantities in which it is used in our kitchen, this does not pose a health hazard.
Pepper is used for soups, gravy, 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. Homemade slaughter of a pig, the manufacture of sausages and a number of meat products cannot do without black pepper.
Black pepper - the most versatile spice for many dishes. It goes on sale in the form of peas or ground. Ground peas have the greatest aroma. In the ground form, black pepper is used to season various dishes, minced meat, fillings. Pepper is added to dishes shortly before readiness, otherwise, during prolonged cooking, the dish acquires excessive bitterness. Ground pepper is recommended to be stored hermetically packed, otherwise it will quickly exhale and lose its properties
Along with pepper scented and red capsicumBlack pepper is widely used in the canning industry in the production of vegetable marinades, salads, and canned meat. If in the listed cases black pepper is used in the form of peas, then in soups, gravy and sauces, sausages and cheeses - only ground.
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. Heat treatment destroys the cell wall of pepper, accelerating the work of the enzymes responsible for "browning". The fruits are then dried in the sun or by machine for several days. During this time, the fetal membrane is dried out and darkens around the seed, forming a thin wrinkled layer of black color. The fruits thus dried are called peppercorns. Black pepper is consumed both with whole peas, and in ground - as a separate seasoning, and in a variety of mixtures.
White pepper is a mature black pepper seed devoid of pericarp. Typically, to produce white pepper, ripe fruits are soaked in water for approximately one week. As a result of soaking, the fetal shell decomposes and softens, after which it is separated and the remaining seeds are dried. There are alternative ways to separate the shell from the seeds of pepper, including mechanical, chemical and biological.
White pepper has a light gray color, has a more delicate taste, noble and strong aroma. This spice has almost the same use as black pepper.
Green pepper, like black pepper, is obtained from unripe fruits. Dried green peas are processed in such a way as to preserve the green color, for example, using sulfur dioxide or by lyophilization (dry drying). Similarly, pink (red) pepper is also obtained from ripe fruits (pink pepper from Piper nigrum should be distinguished from the more common pink pepper made from Peruvian pepper or Brazilian pepper).
Also, green and red peas of pepper are pickled or used fresh (mainly in Thai cuisine). The smell of fresh peas is described as fresh and pungent, with a bright aroma.
Medical use of black pepper
Affects systems: digestive, circulatory, respiratory.
General strengthening, expectorant, carminative, anthelmintic.
Studies show that pepper, in addition to the properties listed above, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease: it dilutes blood, destroys clots, improves blood circulation. It also promotes digestion, stimulates the metabolism, activating the burning of calories. Pepper contains three times more vitamin C than an orange. It is also rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, carotene and B vitamins. In addition, pepper is able to enhance the effect of other medicinal plants.
Recommended for: chronic indigestion, toxins in the rectum, impaired metabolism, obesity, high fever, fever, during a crisis of colds. Peppers have long been attributed to medicinal plants. Even the Maya Indians used it to relieve pain, treat cough, sore throat, asthma and other respiratory diseases.
You can’t do without pepper in the kitchen. This spice is so widespread that in catering establishments ground pepper is placed in special pepper boxes on tables in dining rooms. And any visitor can pepper the dish at their discretion and taste.