Black pepper, Piper nigrum, is a climbing perennial plant in the family Piperaceae which is grown for its fruits. The fruits are used to produce black, white and green peppercorns which are commonly used as a spice in cooking.
Black pepper is a tropical plant and does not tolerate frost. Plants will not tolerate temperatures below 12˚C (53.6˚F). The plants will grow best in wet, tropical climates at ambient temperatures between 25 and 30˚C (77-86˚F) in a deep, well-draining soil with a good capacity to retain water. The soil should be rich in organic matter with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. The plants require an annual rainfall of approximately 2000 mm and will require additional irrigation in drier areas.
Black pepper plants are used to produce black, white and green pepper. Black pepper is the product of drying the fruit to produce the familiar black peppercorns. White pepper is produced by soaking the fruits in water for approximately a week to recover the seed from the decomposed fruit. Green pepper is produced by drying the unripe fruit in a way that retains the green colour. Green peppercorns are often conserved by pickling.
Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
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