Pepper, the ubiquitous culinary spice, is used in cuisines around the world. Whether it’s adding a little bit of heat to your favorite dish or using it as a natural remedy for a cold, pepper is an incredibly versatile ingredient. But did you know that there’s more to pepper than meets the eye? Here are six fascinating facts about pepper that will make you look at it in a whole new light.
1. Peppercorns come from four different plants
There are four main types of peppercorns grown around the world—black, white, green and red—and each one comes from its own distinct plant species. Black peppercorns come from Piper nigrum vines; white, green and red peppercorns all come from the same vine, but they differ based on when they’re harvested (green is picked before they mature).
2. Pepper was once worth its weight in gold
In ancient times, pepper was so valuable that it was often used as currency and even accepted as payment of taxes or dowries. Historians believe that this was due to its scarcity and difficulty in transport; because pepper doesn’t grow natively in Europe or North America, traders had to travel long distances to source it.
3. The world’s hottest pepper is currently the Carolina Reaper
If you’re looking for some truly eye-watering heat, then you should reach for a Carolina Reaper—the current record holder for hottest chili pepper on earth according to Guinness World Records! Its official rating stands at 1,641,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which means this pepper is really not for the faint of heart!
4. Pepper is packed with health benefits!
Not only does it add flavor and aroma to your food; if consumed in moderation, it can also help boost your metabolism and aid digestion by increasing hydrochloric acid production in your stomach lining. It has also been linked to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels while helping fight inflammation throughout the body—all great benefits!
5. India produces nearly half of all peppers consumed worldwide!
India is known for its incredible array of spices and herbs—and pepper is no exception! In fact, India produces nearly 50% of all peppers consumed around the globe—a staggering amount considering how much people love their spicy food!
6. Black peppercorns are actually berries!
Believe it or not, black peppercorns are actually berries that have been harvested before fully ripening on their vine; this explains why their skin has such a tough texture compared to other varieties like white or green peppers which come from fully ripened fruit pods!
Pepper may be one of those ingredients we take for granted but there’s so much more to learn about it than meets the eye! From its origins as a rare commodity worth its weight in gold to its incredible variety of health benefits today – understanding more about this amazing spice can certainly give us something to think about next time we reach for our trusty shaker at mealtime! So don’t forget these fascinating facts about pepper next time you break out your favorite recipe – you won’t regret it!
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