Pepper is one type of ancient seasoning that is still used today. Regarded as the “king of spice,” Peppercorn is native to the tropical evergreen rain forest of South Indian Kerala state, from where it spreads to rest of the world through Indian and Arab traders.
Botanically peppercorn belongs to the family of piperaceae, in the genus of Piper and known as scientifically as Piper nigrum. The pepper plant begins producing small round berries after about three to four years of plantation. Technically, the pepper berry is a fruit (drupe), measuring about 5-6 mm in diameter, enclosing a single large seed at its center. In general, peppercorns harvested while half-mature and just about to turn red. They are then left to dry under the sunlight until they dry, shrivel and turn black (black peppercorns).
Besides being a recipe for recipes, pepper also has many benefits, especially for health.
Peppercorns composed of health benefiting essential oils such as piperine, an amine alkaloid, which gives strong spicy pungent character. They also carry numerous monoterpenes hydrocarbons such as sabinene, pinene, terpenene, limonene, mercene, etc., which altogether gives aromatic property to the pepper.
Black peppercorns contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is essential for cellular respiration and blood cell production.
They are also an excellent source of many vital B-complex groups of vitamins such as Pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin and niacin.