Posted on Mar 12, 2022 315
Pepper (Polatini Piper) contains more than a thousand species of herbs, climbing shrubs and lianas, many of which are key species in their native habitat. Pepper species grow in the most in the tropics of both hemispheres, but more in tropical America and in the monsoon regions of East Asia.
The first written sources mentioning pepper were found in India and written in the ancient language of Sanskrit over three thousand years ago. India is considered the birthplace of pepper, although it grows in other tropical countries as well.
The pepper we know as black pepper grows in Indonesia and eastern India. In nature, it looks like a shrub whose branches resemble vines and entwine the trees growing nearby.
Black pepper was introduced to Europe about six centuries ago and was originally prized. Pepper was literally worth its weight in gold and could pay for any commodity.
At one time, the conquered nations paid tribute to the conquerors. In the 5th century, King Alaric I of the Visigoths and Attila the Hun ruler demanded more than a ton of black pepper from Rome as a ransom for stopping their attacks on Rome.
The Spaniards were the first to be introduced to the red pepper growing in the Americas. It was they (more precisely Christopher Columbus) who brought red pepper to Europe. From Spain it came to neighboring Italy and then to other countries. But many nations still call this spice “Spanish pepper”.
The red pepper made a huge impression on the Europeans who set out to conquer the wild America. They first became acquainted with it thanks to the Indians, who fought off the whites with the help of red peppers sprinkled on glowing embers when the wind blew toward the conquerors.
Everyone knows about the pungent properties of hot pepper. The alkaloid substance capsaicin in the fruit gives it its pungency. Dried red pepper contains almost two percent of capsaicin.
Hot red pepper not only makes dishes spicy but also saturates them with vitamins, in particular groups A and C. In addition, pepper contains sugar, protein and minerals, so it is very useful.
The pungency of red pepper is given by capsaicin, which is contained in the tissues. This alkaloid not only affects the receptors, which makes us feel the spice of the pepper, but also helps to improve blood circulation.
The alkaloids in hot red pepper contribute to the synthesis of serotonin in the body, under the influence of which we have a feeling of joy. Therefore, the use of hot peppers can be recommended to people who are prone to depression.
This is the most famous hot pepper, the chili, that helps to burn calories in the body, that’s why it is worth using for weight loss. Adding a small amount of chili to any dish “extinguishes” about 45 calories.
Everyone is familiar with the pepper patch, for manufacturing which hot pepper is used. But pepper has other pharmaceutical uses as well. It is used to make products that improve appetite, blood circulation, digestion, and warming ointments.
Not much red pepper is pungent. There is a mildly pungent pepper called a sweet pepper, known as paprika. The sweetness of paprika varies from mild to quite significant. Paprika peppers are a popular vegetable crop. Many people know sweet peppers as “bell peppers” but no one knows where the name came from. There is speculation that from warm Bulgaria.
In the old days, the pepper was not only used to pay for goods but also to pay fines. One historical document from France testifies that a fine of three pounds of pepper was imposed on the inhabitants of Beziers, guilty of the death of Viscount Roger. Once prosperous merchants were not called “moneybags,” as they are now, but “bags of pepper.” But such a title obliged merchants to be honest. The penalties for counterfeiting pepper in those days were very severe.
India is rightly considered the birthplace of pepper, because that’s where the first spices came to Europe. But nowadays, the major producer of spices entering European countries is not India, but Vietnam.