PepperA peppercorn is the dried berry of the tropical vine Piper nigrum. The berries of this vine are used for making red, green, black and white peppercorns. Black pepper is made from mature but unripe berries that are still green and full of fragrance as they are picked. The berries are placed into hot water for a minute after harvest in order to clean them and because this also destroys the cells of the pulp, which enhances the tanning process. The berries are dried for several days and that’s when they get their black colour. This black peppercorn is the most traded spice in the world.

Pepper plantWhite pepper is made from just the seeds of the berries, without the pulp. For this type of pepper the berries are picked when they are fully ripe. After harvest they get cleaned in hot water and remove the pulp, and after that dried. White pepper is often used in dishes because of it’s invisibility in dishes. The taste of white pepper is a little less spicy than black pepper. Black pepper is much more aromatic compared to white pepper which often smells a bit musty.

 Another type of pepper that you’ll find occasionally is green pepper. These are made by picking the berries at least one week before they are fully ripened and then preserve them. This can be done by treating them with sulphur dioxide and dry them, freeze-drying or canning them in brine. The taste of this green pepper depends largely on the way they are preserved. Another form of green pepper is the freshly picked berry. This form of green pepper is almost exclusively available in the countries where pepper is grown.

A highly praised form of pepper is the red pepper from the Kampot region in Cambodia. To obtain this kind op pepper the berries are picked when they are fully matured (red), the berries are then left to dry inn the sun for 4 days. Good red pepper is very limited available, and highly sought after. Red pepper has an unique full sweet flavour but with a little less heat than the black pepper.

Pink pepper, which you can quite often find in the sold pepper mixes, is the berry from a different plant. These berries contain an irritating substance for the stomach and that’s why they aren’t much in use in the kitchen.

The Chinese Sichuan pepper, or the Japanese Sansho is made from dried peels of a type of citrus tree. They are often used in these countries in herbal mixtures because they add a spicy flavour.

The easiest way to add pepper to your diet is to put a peppermill on the table. Preferably don’t take a glass one, because the light breaks down the healthy substances from the peppercorns. Whole peppercorns can be used in dishes with a long cooking time, so the peppercorns have time to release their flavour.

Pepper originated in the south of India, and you’ll see the pepper vine growing in many places. Pepper is prescribed in Indian traditional medicine (Ayurveda) as a remedy for sore throat, mucus and for coughing.


Below are some benefits of eating pepper listed:

  • Pepper works warming.
  • Pepper gives energy.
  • Pepper stimulates the appetite.
  • Pepper regularly used leads to an increased production of digestive enzymes, and therefore a better digestion.
  • Pepper is not irritating to the stomach like chilies are.
  • Pepper has a cleansing effect on the body.
  • Pepper increases the positive effects of turmeric when combined.
  • Pepper can prevent heartburn after eating.
  • Pepper helps prevent gas in the intestines.
  • Pepper has an antibacterial effect.
  • Pepper stimulates the breakdown of fat tissue in the body, this gives you extra energy and you’ll stay nice and slim.
  • Pepper is a source of vitamin C, K and the minerals iron and manganese.
  • Pepper promotes the uptake of several vitamins.

Beware, pepper has interaction with medications, it can improve the performance but also increase the side effects of the medication.