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Pepper - The Black Gold

Updated on June 28, 2010

The Pepper plant

Pepper

Kerala is known as the spice garden of India. In ancient days foreigners like British , Dutch and French invaded India mainly to exploit its natural resources. The ruling parties of India found that Kerala was rich with many types of spices like Pepper, Cardamom, Turmeric, Ginger etc. So they exported all these to their countries as much as possible. So here I wish to tell about one among these spices, the pepper.

Pepper is also known as ‘Black Gold’. It may be due to its high price. It belongs to the family ‘Peparacea’ . The scientific name of Pepper is Piper Nigrum. It was actually, this pepper that attracted the Britishers to India.

South India , in specific Kerala  is the fertile land of pepper. It is grown in the humid and fertile soils of Western Ghats. Once India was the leading country in pepper cultivation in the world. But the foreign invaders spread the cultivation to their colonies at different part of the world. Thus Malaya Java, Philippens etc etc started cultivating pepper.

Pepper is a climber. It grows 30 to 50 meters in length. It needs a support to grow. Special roots called adventitious roots help them to stick to the supporter. The flowers of pepper are either male  or female. Bilingual flowers are also seen in pepper. Since the fruit does not grow on plants which are either male or female  usually bilingual plants are cultivated. For better result in yield bilingual plants are advised. The flowers  of pepper  grow in clusters . On a single spike about  50 to 150 whitish to yellow-green flowers are seen. The flowers develop into round, berry-like fruits. Like flowers the fruits are also seen in clusters on a spike. There may be 50-60 fruits on each spike.  Each of these seed  contain a single seed. Fruits are initially green . But on ripening  they turn red.  The fruits are picked  either green or red to produce black and white pepper.

There are many types of pepper. Kerala is rich with its diverse items of pepper. About 60 items of pepper are seen in Kerala. According to the climate and fertility of earth a  suitable item is selected. Besides the local varieties hybrid items are also there which yield higher quantity. Panniyoor 1 is one such hybrid variety.

Pepper is an ingradient of many Ayurvedic medicine.  It is a quick curing medicine when you suffer from common cold and cough. For common cold just drink a cup of tea to which some pepper powder is added. For cough just eat some fruits occasionally. It also help to digest the food. Hence it is extensively used in almost all types of curries.

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    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 

      4 years ago

      Good information about pepper. It is one of the main spices in all Kerala kitchens. Thanks for sharing this hub.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      From what I read, this plant has a lot of good uses and helps the body in ways I would not have imagined. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrew 

      8 years ago from Italy

      Interesting hub rated up and useful.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 

      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Pepper is so wonderful, thanks for sharing this. Great hub

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Interesting. We all take such items for granted but no little about them

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