English Name: Peppercorn
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Kaali Mirch
- Peppercorn is a single seeded fruit of a flowering vine called Black pepper (Piper nigrum) from the family Piperaceae. It is used as a spice and seasoning after drying.
- Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe berries of the pepper plant. The berries are cooked briefly in hot water. They 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.
- Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from the piperine compound, which is found both in the outer fruit and in the seed.
- The outer fruit layer, left on black pepper, contains important odor-contributing terpenes including pinene, sabinene, limonene etc, which give citrusy, woody, and floral notes. These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the fruit layer.
- Pepper can also lose flavor when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine. Once ground, pepper's aromatics can evaporate quickly. Most culinary sources recommend grinding whole peppercorns immediately before use for this reason.
- Black Pepper is widely used in traditional medicinal systems including Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine in India. It is used for manufacturing medicines curing illnesses and diseases like heart disease, indigestion, constipation, insomnia, joint pains, liver problems, sneezing etc