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Pepper | basic characteristics | health benefits | use in cooking

Basic characteristics of pepper

Pepper (Piper nigrum) is a spice originating from India, which grows in the form of wood and inhabits the Indonesian tropical forest. 

It belongs to the family of a climbing plants that can reach a height of 10 meters. 

The characteristic of this plant is long life period of 60 years, and only in their seventh year gives its first fruits in the form of berries with the different colors, depending on the stage of ripening.

Today, the pepper is widespread in the world and is used as a condiment in the kitchen, because of its spicy flavor.

Species of pepper

Today, registers more than 200 species of pepper all over the world, but the most famous among them are black, white, green and red pepper

Color of pepper doesn't depend on the type of plant, but depends on the stage where it picked and prepares for use.

Black pepper is obtained when  harvested green peppercorns and then in a natural manner are dried in the sun, when changing color to black and shrimp becomes dry and wrinkled. The black pepper is the most aromatic among other species of pepper.

1. Black pepper

Black pepper is obtained when  green peppercorns are harvested and then in a natural manner dried in the sun. During this process under sun, pepper changing color to black and shrimp becomes dry and wrinkled. 

The black pepper is the most aromatic among other species of pepper.

2. Red pepper

Red pepper is obtained when berries are harvested as ripe peppercorns. In that stage berries have red color.  

After harvesting and selecting, red berries soaking in salt water, or been quick frozen or quick subjected to drying.

Red pepper berries are very aromatic and spicy. The aroma is distinctive, something between scents of pepper and lemon.

3. Green pepper

Green pepper is actually unripe pepper, because the grains are harvested while still green. Also this kind of pepper undergoing with drying and prepare for usage.

Green pepper preserved especially pleasant aroma, and it is used for all kinds of meat and cheeses dishes. 

It is found in many mixed spices for fish, pickling cabbage, and spices sausage in curry.

In the fridge, fresh pepper can be maintained from eight to ten days in smaller quantities.

4. White pepper

White pepper is produced from fully ripe peppercorns, but in this case the outer membrane removes.

To obtain white pepper almost ripe berries are picking, which are then go to removing membranes, and only then dried. 

5. Allspice ( Pepper from Jamaica )

This is a rare type of pepper that has a specific smell, resembling a mix of pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. It is quite aromatic.

6. Szechuan pepper

This type of pepper is native to China, and identified by a very strong taste, hard and very bitter fruit, which is discarded, and as a spice is used only outer membrane  of pepper berry.

As a spice, pepper is generally added at the very end of cooking.

It is interesting that pepper from China helps get rid of cellulite, ills that afflicts more than 90% of women.

The French scientists have discovered that an ingredient in Szechuan pepper calls xanthoxyline prevents the formation of mature fat cells, adipocytes, the major "builders" of cellulite.

Nutritional Value of Pepper

The smell of pepper is aromatic and the taste is bitter, angry and sharp, and depends on the type of pepper. 

Anger in pepper originated from alkaloid piperine, which is, depending on the type of pepper, represented by 5-10%.

Essential oils in pepper give it its aromatic scent. 

In the pepper are represented starch, fats and resins.

Health Benefits of Pepper

- Aids digestion, stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, relieves nausea and eliminate bad breath

- Destroys bacteria in the stomach, prevents flatulence and creation of gases

- Aids in the absorption of vitamin beta carotene from foods

- Excellent for purifying blood vessels

- Accelerating metabolism, removing excess weight and it is used for weight loss

- Pepper is a plant that heats the body

- Participates in the detoxification of the body from free radicals and antioxidants

- Pepper has an anticancer activity 

- Encourages sweating and expelling urine from the body

- Effective in fighting colds and flu, as well as cough

- Pepper essential oil is effective for rheumatism, joint pain, relieves spasms and relaxing the muscles

- Removes acne and regulate hormones

- Highly valued as a remedy in Ayurveda

- Valued by people who have vitiligo

Undesirable properties of pepper

Pepper can irritate the bowel in susceptible persons, and should not be dag and used by people who have ulcers, intestinal ulcers or hemorrhoids.

The use of pepper in the kitchen

Pepper is an integral part of many dishes, and you should know that the best effect is achieved with the grind fresh pepper. 

It is best to use a mix of peppers, because it gets a full taste and aroma that pepper gives.

When buying pepper, you should pay attention to the appearance of skins, color, and the origin.

If the paper grind, till time it will be eventually lose flavor, so it is best to keep it in sealed jars, protected from the influence of light.


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