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Let’s add a bit of spice to our culinary skills with a few numbers about one of the most popular ingredients in this category… pepper.
History, production, nutritional value: here is a pepper “identikit” in numbers, 10 interesting facts about pepper you can't miss .
1498 was the year in which Vasco de Gama discovered the sea route along the Malabar Coast, where a flourishing spice trade with the western world sprang up. De Gama himself had an authentic obsession for pepper and this was what prompted him to venture into that particular area.
3 are the principal and most widely used types of pepper. Black Pepper, White Pepper and Green Pepper. In actual fact, all three come from the same plant, the Piper Nigrum. In the case of Green Pepper, the berries are gathered when raw and preserved in brine or vinegar. Instead, white pepper is obtained from ripe fruits, which are then soaked in water for one week, before the outer layer of the seed is removed. Finally, black pepper is obtained by drying the ripe fruits of the plant.
3 other varieties of pepper have become quite widespread, even though they only represent a very small share of the market. We refer to red, orange and pink peppercorns. The red and orange varieties derive, quite simply, from fruits of these colours which are harvested and preserved in brine. Pink pepper is a case apart since, technically speaking, it is not actually a pepper. In fact it is not Piper Nigrum but Schinus Molli or Schinus Terebinthifollius. These are not related to pepper at all since they belong to the family of cashew nuts, but they recall the appearance and flavour of this spice.
4 metres is the height a Piper Nigrum plant can grow to. It is a perennial producing clusters of up to 20-30 berries. It grows mainly in South East Asia.
40% of the pepper produced in the world comes from Vietnam. Then come Indonesia (13%), India and Brazil (12%), China (7%), Cambodia (4%).
19% of the pepper produced worldwide is consumed in Europe, which represents the most important market for this spice. It is followed by North America (15%), India (14%), China (12%), the Middle East (9%), Africa (7%) and Asia (6%).
5701 million dollars is the estimated value to be reached by this market globally by 2024. In 2017 it attained the record figure of 3761.2 million dollars.
82.5% of the pepper market is accounted for by Black Pepper which, in recent times, has undergone a slight downturn compared to other varieties. However, its consumption continues to be characterized by a positive trend and is expected to grow to a global value of 1055.6 million dollars by 2024.
10.9 grams of proteins are contained in 100 grams of Black Pepper. Besides, it is a food rich in iron (11.20 mg), Calcium (430 mg) and Potassium (1260 mg). Moreover, it has a variable content of piperine, an alkaloid whose percentage determines the piquancy of this spice. In top quality peppers, this concentration can be as high as 10%.
300 grams of flour are needed to make delicious black pepper biscuits. You will also require 150 grams of honey, 80 grams of butter, 2 egg yolks, 3 spoonfuls of black pepper, 1 spoonful of cinnamon, 10 grams of baking powder and half a glass of unskimmed fresh milk. They are very simple to make. In a mixing bowl beat the following ingredients with a fork: flour, honey, cold butter cut into smallish pieces, egg yolks and milk. When the mixture is smooth, add the baking powder, pepper, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, stirring for a little longer. Use a biscuit cutter to create the shapes you prefer and bake in a preheated oven at 180° C for about 20 minutes.
If you are looking for recipes with pepper, take a look at our section. Why don' you try this amazing Pepper, Mushroom and Rigatoni Bake?