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Plant Description: Black pepper has been one of the most important spices since ancient times. They are best grown in a pot or raised bed in acid soil such as Canadian Peat. The plants prefer a hot, humid climate and some shade. Black pepper is the dried unripe fruit of small one-seeded berrylike drupes about 50 to a catkin. They are usually picked when the first 'berry' begins to turn red. Before drying, they may be used fresh green. When dried, they become the black wrinkled peppercorns. Season: Year round, but heaviest in warm months. Damage Temp: 28 - 30 F.
Scientific Name: Piper nigrum
Common Name: Black Pepper, Peppercorn
Origin: India or Indo-Malayan region
Distribution: Black pepper fruits are the source of one of the world's most widely and frequently used spices. Black, white and green peppercorns all come from Piper nigrum and are popularly used as a hot and pungent spice for flavouring food. Black pepper is also used in traditional medicine, particularly for digestive ailments.
History: Pepper originated in the hills of South Western India. Although pepper was found cultivated in Indonesia as early as the 13th Century and in Sri Lanka and Cambodia in the 18th Century, India remained as the centre of pepper cultivation till the early 19th Century when large number of pepper holdings were established in Malaysia and later in Brazil.
Importance: Black pepper (Piper Nigrum L.) is an important healthy food owing to its antioxidant, antimicrobial potential and gastro-protective modules. Black pepper, with piperine as an active ingredient, holds rich phytochemistry that also includes volatile oil, oleo-resins, and alkaloids.