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Black Pepper is Nothing to Sneeze At

Updated on September 18, 2014
Pepper before ripening
Pepper before ripening | Source

Here is a spice we use all the time. It's on the table when we dine.

Black pepper, the most common of the (Piperaceae) pepper family, comes from a peppercorn that is grown on a flowering vine.

The pepper plants take four years to bear fruit, and once they have, they will continue to do so for up to seven years. Watering in the first three years is very important to the plant and it has to be watered every other day during the dry season.

Once harvested the peppercorns are boiled for a short time in order to clean them, then dried in the sun or in a machine in order for us to use as a seasoning or a spice. This usually takes a couple of days.

Where Pepper Plants Are Grown

Pepper plants are only grown in tropical regions. Vietnam is the world’s largest producer, but the black peppers are native to India and have been used as a spice there going back to prehistoric times. Other countries that are Major producers of Pepper are India, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China and Thailand.

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Pepper As A Medicine

  • It was once believed that pepper could cure many types of medical problems such as heart disease, indigestion and insomnia just to name a few.
  • In Indian medicine today it is commonly used to relieve throat congestion, cough and a sore throat.
  • Certain extracts from pepper do have antioxidant properties.
  • Pepper is great for improving digestion and known to lower body temperature.

What is a Drupe?

Drupe is a fruit that has a fleshy outer part and is surrounded by a shell that is hard with a seed inside.

The different colors of peppercorns
The different colors of peppercorns | Source

Different Colors of Pepper

  • White pepper is obtained by soaking fully ripe peppers in water for a week.
  • Green pepper is from unripe drupes dried and treated with sulfur dioxide or freeze-drying.
  • Orange and Red pepper are drupes that are put into brine and vinegar.

Uses For Black Pepper

  • Want to keep the bugs out of your garden and off your vegetable plants? Sprinkle some pepper mixed with flour around your plants.
  • To keep your clothes brighter add a teaspoon of pepper to your wash load.
  • For a quick radiator fix add peppercorns to stop the leaks.
  • Used in sneezing powder for a practical joke.
  • Peppercorns of all colors mixed together in a glass container make a lovely decorative addition to your kitchen.

Pepper Superstition

A superstition that dates back to Elizabethan times states that when someone sneezes you must say “God Bless You”, as it was believed that by saying this, the devil would not enter your body as you opened your mouth to sneeze, and would ward off the devil.


Pepper, pepper if you please

Why oh why do you make me sneeze

Piperine, which is an alkaloid that is in black pepper, will tend to irritate the nostrils that cause some people to sneeze. Piperine once extracted from pepper is known to stop blood clots, reverse pigment disease and boost overall health.

One of the best and most useful wedding shower gifts I received was, and is my favorite, pepper mill I still use it today and even though it is pretty old it works great. Hopefully will keep working for years to come.

Pepper Mills

Many people collect pepper mills aka pepper grinders. The first ever made was in France by Peugeot in 1842, and is said to be the best pepper mill one can ever buy. Coming with a lifetime warranty, this company stands by their product.

My Pepper mill collection
My Pepper mill collection | Source

© 2011 Susan Zutautas


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    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada





      So sorry for the very late reply. Thank you all for your comments.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Mark, Glad you liked the hub and thanks for your comments.

    • profile image

      markbennis 6 years ago

      This is a great hub as I love freshly grounded black pepper corns with almost every dish, you added some great information here and it will add to my general knowledge of this important spice, voted up and gave it a tweet, just fantastic, thanks.

    • SUSIE405 profile image

      SUSIE405 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Good tips about pepper. I love pepper and am always criticizing for using too much.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA


      I was surprised to hear that it takes 4 years for the plant to bear fruit. And so many other things that I did not know. Like pepper plants are only grown in tropical regions. Seriously, I learned a lot. Thanks for the info.


    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Pepper can give a "kick" to a dull dish. Thanks for the so many interesting uses for Pepper, who knew? Thanks for sharing Susan.

    • profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago

      It is interesting how many people say they didn't like pepper as a kid, but now use it a lot. I'm one of them! I did NOT know, however, that I could put it in my radiator. Very interesting, thank you!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      My dogs were climbing up into my strawberry pot last year!! omg! I had to throw them all out - now I don't let them out there in the summer - they have to go out in the front. My neighbor just made a garden next to my yard - I want one like that too! Waaah!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Bilssfull, dahoglund and Bill I have always liked pepper and add it to most dishes I make. Thanks for the comments.

      Susan Have never tried the pink and do not really use the white that much. Thanks for popping by.

      RH I have been using sea salt all the time now but not in a grinder as I need to get one for the salt. Always use the fresh ground pepper or most of the time. I have a hard time growing anything outside as my 2 dogs love to dig. Guess it is time for a new project: a fenced area for a garden.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I did not realize that pepper could be used for so many things! I cook a ton and only use pepper I can grind myself - I have even been using sea salt in a mill. I'm going to see if it helps keep the pests out of my herbs on the back porch! that's great.

      Gosh, just when I thought I knew it all!

    • nightbear profile image

      Susan Kaul 6 years ago from Michiagn, USA

      I only like black pepper. I've tried white and pink and didn't like it. Great job with the locations too. interesting.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Pepper is an acquired taste. I never liked it as a kid, but I use it liberally today.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Interesting information on pepper which, I admit, I don't think about a lot.I do remember working for Watkins company which sold pepper among other spices. One of their sales claims was that it did not make you sneeze.

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 6 years ago

      I used to never use pepper. But now I starting to have pepper more and more, because the wait staff in restaurants are starting to ask "would you like ground peppers in your salad?". I don't like saying no, so I say "yes". And now I like pepper (just enough, but not too much).