Black pepper, nicknamed ‘black gold’ and the ‘king of spices’, is the world's most important and widely consumed spice. Pepper has grown in India for thousands of years and was first introduced to the West after the global conquests of Alexander the Great (4th century BC). Pepper was so precious in ancient times that it was used as money to pay taxes, tributes, dowries, and rent. It was weighed like gold and used as a common medium of exchange. The spice was even used in preserving mummies - Ramses the Great’s body had peppercorns stuffed in the nostrils to help keep the body clean!
Meghalaya has natural advantages that help in the cultivation of a variety of spices and
herbs — from turmeric, ginger and chilli to bay leaf and black pepper. The piper longum (Whole Black Peppercorn) is native to the Northeast and is hotter than the black peppercorn used in most other parts of India. The climatic conditions — humidity, moderately warm temperature, severe cold winters and high rainfall — help it grow in profusion. Unfortunately, even though Meghalaya has a natural advantage that help in the cultivation of a variety of spices and herbs — from turmeric, ginger and chilli to bay leaf and black pepper. The farmers have not been able to fetch a fair price for their produce. Lack of proper roads, poverty, communication barriers, access to markets have forced the farmers to sell their produce to middlemen in the local weekly village market at very low rates.
Kerala had earned its global monopoly in pepper trade from ancient time. The intensive and unscientific high input farming of hybrid varieties using chemical fertilizers and pesticides have contributed to decimation of pepper cultivation in many regions of Malaba, as stated by the director of WSSS Father John Choorappuzhayil.
Black pepper truly is an example of why we must look deeper into the qualities of nature’s food. This humble spice is capable of restoring health by balancing the doshas and supporting the body’s natural systems of metabolism, aid weight loss as it can stimulate breakdown of fat cells, detoxification, circulation, and nerve transmission and more importantly it enhances bio availability of many essential nutrients.
The fruits and roots of this plant are used by traditional healers in Meghalaya for the
treatment of a variety of diseases, especially respiratory problems, abdominal pain, fever or flu and jaundice.
Whole Black Peppercorn adds flavour to almost every food of every nation in the world. It is used in rubs, spice blends, salad dressings, and probably only spice that is enjoyed directly from a pepper mill. A dash of ground pepper can perk up any cooked meal.
Black pepper has been also used in all kinds of desserts. It’s an especially delicious surprise in chocolate sweets, from fudge brownies, chocolate layer cake to chocolate truffles.
The flavour of black pepper mellows with cooking. That is one reason why the pepper
shaker on the table is so important.
Black Peppercorn Whole Spice
We also have Black Pepper powder