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Pictured above; Pepper


Pepper, common name for a family comprising a medium-size group of perennial climbing vine of the family Piperaceae, indigenous to the Malabar Coast of India. It is the world's most important and oldest spice in use for at least 3000 years.

Pepper, is prepared from the peppercorn, the fruit of the pepper plant, it is widely cultivated in hot, moist areas of tropical Asia and has been introduced into tropical areas of Africa and of the Western Hemisphere. Peppercorns that are harvested while green and immature and then allowed to dry yield black pepper. To produce white pepper, red and ripe peppercorns are soaked in water and their outer covering is rubbed off.

In early historic times pepper was widely cultivated in the tropics of Southeast Asia, where it became highly regarded as a condiment. Pepper early became an important article of overland trade between India and Europe.

The plant can reach heights of 10 m. The berrylike fruits, or peppercorns, are about 5 mm in diameter. They become yellowish red at maturity and bear a single seed. Their odour is penetrating and aromatic; the taste is hot, biting, and very pungent.

The plant requires a long rainy season, fairly high temperatures, and partial shade for best growth.

The berries are picked when they begin to turn red. The collected berries are immersed in boiling water for about 10 minutes, which causes them to turn dark brown or black in an hour. Then they are spread out to dry in the sun for four days. The whole peppercorns, when ground, yield black pepper.

White pepper is obtained by removing the outer coating. The outer coating is removed by washing and rubbing, and the berries are spread in the sun to dry. Whole white pepper can also be prepared by grinding off the outer coating mechanically. The flavour is less pungent than that of black pepper.

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Quick Facts
Chinese Chopsticks taper to a rounded end, Japanese taper to a pointed end and Korean taper to a blunted end.
Chopsticks are traditionally held in the right hand only, and in East Asia, as in Muslim nations, the left hand is used in the toilet.


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