Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5 millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper, white pepper, or green pepper. Green peppercorns are simply the immature black peppercorns.
Black pepper is native to India and is extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is the world’s largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world’s Piper nigrum crop as of 2008.
Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavour and as a medicine. Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice. It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and its descendants. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. It may be found on most dinner tables in the industrialized world, often alongside table salt.
Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe drupes of the pepper plant. The drupes are cooked briefly in hot water, both to clean them and to prepare them for drying. The heat ruptures cell walls in the pepper, speeding the work of browning enzymes during drying. The drupes are dried in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dried, the spice is called black peppercorn. On some estates, the berries are separated from the stem by hand and then sun dried without the boiling process.
Once the peppercorns are dried, pepper spirit & oil can be extracted from the berries by crushing them. Pepper spirit is used in famous beverages like Coca-Cola and many medicinal and beauty products. Pepper oil is also used as an ayurvedic massage oil and used in certain beauty and herbal treatments.
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
½ – 1 teaspoon paprika (if you like spicy, use 1 teaspoon)
½ teaspoon chili flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 of one small onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (or dried parsley)
For Grilling: 2 tablespoons olive oil (for brushing)
Cut the chicken into small cubes (a total of 16 pieces if you will), pat dry and marinate with the ingredients for 1 hour.
Thread four pieces of chicken meat with two pieces each of green bell pepper and yellow pepper (see the picture above for the order) onto a metal skewer or bamboo skewer. Repeat the same and make four skewers. Set aside.
Fire up your outdoor grill (or indoor grill) and grill the chicken kebab until cooked. While grilling, brush the chicken and bell peppers with olive oil. Serve hot.
If you use bamboo skewers, soak them in cold water overnight so they don’t get burned during the grilling process.
Black Ground Pepper: Stops bleeding, sprinkle a generous amount on a cut and voila! pain free
Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used.
Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhoea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches. Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging. Nevertheless, Black pepper either powdered or its decoction is widely used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.
Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing; Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer the question. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients.
As a medicine, pepper appears in the Buddhist Samaññaphala Sutta, chapter five, as one of the few medicines allowed to be carried by a monk.
Pepper contains small amounts of safrole, a mildly carcinogenic compound. Also, it is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines, being replaced by what is referred to as a bland diet. However, extracts from black pepper have been found to have antioxidant properties and anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili.
Piperine present in black pepper acts as a thermogenic compound. Piperine enhances the thermogenesis of lipid and accelerates energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and beta-endorphin production in the brain.
Piperine and other components from black pepper may also be helpful in treating vitiligo, although when combined with UV radiation should be staggered due to the effect of light on the compound.