Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pepper, the King of Spices

Pepper is the oldest spice known to humans. It is mentioned in Sanskrit texts written in 1000B.C.The name Pepper comes from the Sanskrit name. Pippali. It is the spice which made ancient European powers like Rome and Greece carry on trade with India. It was a medium of exchange. Originally from India, pepper is now grown in most of the tropical regions of the world.
Pepper is a vine, unlike cinnamon. I have made my pepper vines twine round my teak trees, but they are still small. These pictures are from my friend's garden. The berries are still green, and in December they will all turn orange red.The black pepper we use is the seed of the mature berry. The green berries are also used to make delicious pickles.
Wild pepper is very common in the rain forests of the Western Ghats. Besides extensive culinary uses, pepper also has medicinal uses. It is good for coughs and colds. It is also used in aroma therapy.

9 comments:

  1. That's really interesting. I had no idea pepper was a vine. I never really thought about where peppercorns came from before.

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  2. hi Lotus, we were just recently discussing where pepper came from and neither of us knew. The topic came up as I consume a huge amount of pepper on a daily basis and but it by the kilo in the local Asian supermarket.

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  3. Peter picked a peck of pickled pepper......say that as fast as you can lol. Lotusleaf is there a shrub variety of this pepper? I think I have seen it growing in Grenada. I can't imagine food without black pepper.

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  4. Hi Lotusleaf, thanks for showing this beautiful vine. I thought pepper was from a tree, as there is a tree called pepper tree that we saw when living in southern California. The berries are beautiful at all stages it appears.
    Frances

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  5. Lotusleaf, I'm all thumbs while training any vine. Some years ago I bought a pepper seedling but only after the nursery man had assured me that it was a bush pepper plant. In no time at all, it started climbing all over the place! But the vine has been faithfully producing several bunches of berries every year :)

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  6. Catherine: When you hear it called king of spices, you naturally think it is a tree.
    Barry:Pepper is good for you, as it is a 'hot' spice.
    Islandgal, I too have seen the bush pepper in the local nurseries. It is mainly ornamental.
    Frances: Welcome and thanks for your comment.The berries and the vine are beautiful at all stages. Even the wild variety is very pretty.
    Shailaja: Try pickling the green berries just before they turn yellow in December.It is delicious.

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  7. I wasn't aware of the origin of the name. That's so interesting. Also about pickling the green berries. But I use a great deal of black pepper too!

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  8. Hi Kana. The pickle is great either in lime juice or in vinegar.

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  9. Nice posting. Do you know about these Sanskrit books?

    http://www.YogaVidya.com/freepdfs.html

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