pianta del pepe

pepper (Piper nigrum) – four colors – one fruit

Since I’m soon going where pepper grows, I wanted to talk about this universal spice a bit more.


Pepper (Piper nigrum):

It has been one of the most important spices since ancient times. It has also been used as a mean of payment. Pepper is the fruit of a vine native to the forests of Malabar (in India). It was imported into tropical Asia, Madagascar and Brazil. Black pepper, green pepper, white pepper and red pepper are obtained from Piper nigrum. (Red pepper is not to be confused with the Baies rosé, which are the fruits of a different plant). Curiosities:

-it was worth as much as gold)

-In German, high prices are still called “peppery prices” (gepfefferte Preise)

-In the Middle Ages a very rich person was called a “pepper bag”.

-In the Middle Ages a dowry had to comprehend at least 10 bags of pepper.

-it is the longest-known spice in Europe (in 330 BC it was brought to the Mediterranean from Persia by Alexander the Great)

– is the world’s best-selling spice

-as it used to be so expensive that sometimes it was stretched with pebbles, juniper berries or others


The major producing countries are: Indonesia, India, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, while the major importers are the United States, Europe and Russia.

Pepper is used to preserve certain foods (e.g. sausages) because it is a good disinfectant and antibacterial. It is also a flavour enhancer.

Piperine, the most important component for piquancy, is found in the peel of the berries. This is why black pepper is spicier than white pepper.


peeled black pepper


Black pepper (Piper nigrum):

It is obtained by picking the fruits at the beginning of ripening, when they are still green. They are then fermented and dried until the skin takes on a dark colour. Black pepper has a fresh, woody, pungent and very aromatic taste.

It can be used in any dish where you want a bit of spicy: meat, sauces, vegetables, salad, soups and even desserts (for example on strawberries).


White pepper (Piper nigrum):

It is obtained from fruits harvested at full maturity that are macerated in water. After that the skin and pulp are removed. The white pepper is less spicy and has a less fine aroma. It is often used in light sauces (for example cream), where the black dots of black pepper would disturb.


Green pepper (Piper nigrum):

It is less spicy and fresher than the others and has a slight lemony flavour. It is harvested before ripening and sold fresh, freeze-dried or pickled in saline or vinegar solution.

Green pepper can be used fresh (in this case it cannot be ground) or it can be dried. In this case it can be used whole or ground in the pepper mill or mortar. The whole green pepper can be cooked together with the dish so that it becomes soft. If it is pickled, it is washed before use and then used whole or crushed.

You can use it for meat, soups and Thai cuisine. Green Thai curry contains lots of green pepper.


Red pepper (Piper nigrum):

These are very ripe berries usually pickled. It is extremely rare and almost unobtainable. The aroma of red pepper is like a mixture of black and green pepper.

Well, I really hope to find pepper during my travel, so that I can tell you something new!


Here is a recipe for lemon or orange pepper



– ½ Orange or lemon only outermost peel

– 2-4 tbsp black or white pepper





Grate orange or lemon peel finely and mix with freshly ground black or white pepper.

Note: you cannot keep this mixture for a long time because the orange or lemon peel is fresh and moist.

If you want to preserve the mixture, you can dry the peel first and then mix it with the pepper.

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