Aromatic plants

Red pepper

The piper nigrum plant

Perhaps not everyone knows that the numerous varieties of pepper that exist on the market, and which generally take their name from a color, are not the product of different plants, but of a single plant, namely piper nigrum. The piper nigrum is a plant of the Piperaceae family, native to India, where today it is widely cultivated, as well as in other tropical countries. Pepper has been used as a spice since ancient times, and it was so precious that it was even used as a bargaining chip. Its plant is a semi-climbing and perennial shrub, which can reach up to 4 or 5 meters in height. It features rounded and smooth branches. The leaves are long and tapered, of an intense green color and with the underside covered with hair. The flowers are small and white, and are collected in spikes up to 20 centimeters long.

The varieties of pepper

The piper nigrum plant, once the flowers have blossomed, also produces fruits, which are small berries, without petioles, which contain a single seed. The color of the fruits is green when they are just born, then turns towards yellow and finally red. Their diameter, once they have been dried, can fluctuate between 0.3 and 0.6 centimeters. The numerous varieties of pepper that can be used in cooking are all derived from these berries, which are processed in different ways, and left to ripen for more or less long periods. For example, the most common type of pepper, black pepper, is obtained from still unripe fruits left to dry for seven days. This is the hottest pepper. White pepper, on the other hand, is obtained by macerating the ripe fruit in water. Finally, red pepper it is made by pickling the very ripe berries. It is not very spicy.

Red pepper, like other existing varieties, has many beneficial properties, and its use is therefore recommended not only because it gives flavor and spiciness to each dish, but also because it is good for health. seed that in the fruit shell, of piperine, but in addition to piperine also contains pinene and limonene, which instead give it its aromatic properties. Usually red pepperit is able to release the maximum of its aroma only as soon as it is pulverized: for this reason it is generally served on the table with the pepper mill, to sprinkle it on the dishes at the moment. Moreover, since ancient times, pepper has been used in phytotherapy. In fact it is useful as an expectorant and anti-inflammatory. It helps digestion, has antiseptic and diuretic properties, as well as mild aphrodisiac characteristics.

Red Pepper: How To Grow Pepper At Home

If you want to grow a pepper plant at home, in your own aromatic garden, you can try, even if it is not one of the easiest businesses. Being a tropical plant, it needs a very hot and humid climate, and a soil rich in organic substances. In the nurseries you can find already developed seedlings, or you can use the seeds. It is necessary to find a fairly spacious corner of the garden where to put the pierp nigrum, because the shrub could also develop considerably. If the plant takes root and bears fruit, the harvest must be done according to the type of pepper to be obtained. To have red pepper, as we said, the ripe berries must be removed, and then put in brine. Alternatively, black pepper is more easily obtained, by drying the unripe fruits.

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