Friday, September 01, 2006

Black Pepper

Black pepper is one of the oldest spice crops. It is consumed throughout the world more than any other spice, as black, white, and green peppercorns. India is a major exporter and there is long established tradition of commercial cultivation by smallholders.

Varieties and types

There are more than 100 cultivars of black pepper in India with names such as 'Balamcotta', 'Kalluvalli' and 'Cheria Kaniakadan'. They are distinguished from each other in leaf shape and size and flowering and fruiting characteristics.

The same species is used to produce black, white and green peppercorns. It is also used to produce pepper oil and oleoresin. The oil is obtained by steam distillation of the fruits and the oleoresin by solvent extraction. They give a much stronger flavour than the spice and are mainly used in convenience foods.

In Ayurvedic medicine black pepper has been used to aid digestion, improve the appetite, treat coughs, colds, breathing and heart problems, colic, diabetes, anaemia and piles. Stomach ailments such as dyspepsia, flatulence, constipation and diarrhoea are all treated with black pepper, which may be mixed with other substances such as castor oil, cow's urine or ghee.

Black pepper remedies

Black pepper has been prepared in the form of pills as a remedy for cholera and syphilis, sometimes combined with other substances. It has also been used in tooth powder for toothache and an infusion of black pepper has been described as a remedy for sore throat and hoarseness. Alternatively black pepper could be chewed to reduce throat inflammation.

Few delicious recipes you can make out of Black Pepper ...

Milagu-paruppu Rasam

Milagu Kuzhambu

Cauliflower pepper fry

Pepper Chicken

Milagu Vadai

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