In , Vasco da Gama became the first person to reach India by sailing around Africa see Age of Discovery ; asked by Arabs in Calicut who spoke Spanish and Italian why they had come, his representative replied, "we seek Christians and spices".
Though this first trip to India by way of the southern tip of Africa was only a modest success, the Portuguese quickly returned in greater numbers and eventually gained much greater control of trade on the Arabian Sea. The Treaty of Tordesillas with the Spanish granted Portugal exclusive rights to the half of the world where black pepper originated. Unsurprisingly, the Portuguese proved unable to monopolize the spice trade. Older Arab and Venetian trade networks successfully imported enormous quantities of spices, and pepper once again flowed through Alexandria and Italy, as well as around Africa.
In the 17th century, the Portuguese lost almost all of their valuable Indian Ocean trade to the Dutch and the English , who, taking advantage from the Spanish ruling over Portugal during Iberian Union — , occupied by force almost all Portuguese dominations in the area.
The pepper ports of Malabar began to trade increasingly with the Dutch in the period — As pepper supplies into Europe increased, the price of pepper declined though the total value of the import trade generally did not.
Pepper, which in the early Middle Ages had been an item exclusively for the rich, started to become more of an everyday seasoning among those of more average means.
Today, pepper accounts for one-fifth of the world's spice trade. Sent by Emperor Wu to what is now south-west China, Tang Meng is said to have come across something called jujiang or "sauce-betel". He was told it came from the markets of Shu , an area in what is now the Sichuan province. The traditional view among historians is that "sauce-betel" is a sauce made from betel leaves, but arguments have been made that it actually refers to pepper, either long or black.
In the third century CE, black pepper made its first definite appearance in Chinese texts, as hujiao or "foreign pepper". It does not appear to have been widely known at the time, failing to appear in a fourth-century work describing a wide variety of spices from beyond China's southern border, including long pepper.
Marco Polo testifies to pepper's popularity in 13th-century China, when he relates what he is told of its consumption in the city of Kinsay Hangzhou: During the course of the treasure voyages in the early 15th century, Admiral Zheng He and his expeditionary fleets returned with such a large amount of black pepper that the once-costly luxury became a common commodity.
Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a folk medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used. Black pepper or perhaps long pepper was believed to cure several illnesses, such as constipation , insomnia , oral abscesses , sunburn , and toothaches , among others. No current medical evidence indicates any of these treatments has any benefit. Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing.
Piperine is under study for its potential to increase absorption of selenium , vitamin B 12 , beta-carotene and curcumin , as well as other compounds. Piperine is also under study for a variety of possible physiological effects,  although this work is preliminary and mechanisms of activity for piperine in the human body remain unknown. Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from piperine derived both from the outer fruit and the seed.
Black pepper contains between 4. These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the fruit layer. White pepper can gain different odours including musty notes from its longer fermentation stage. Pepper loses flavor and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage helps preserve its spiciness longer.
Pepper can also lose flavor when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine.
Handheld pepper mills or grinders, which mechanically grind or crush whole peppercorns, are used for this as an alternative to pepper shakers that dispense ground pepper.
Spice mills such as pepper mills were found in European kitchens as early as the 14th century, but the mortar and pestle used earlier for crushing pepper have remained a popular method for centuries, as well. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Peppercorn disambiguation. Roughly cracked black peppercorns, also known as mignonette or poivre mignonette. For the Ween album, see White Pepper.
Retrieved 2 March Food Culture in India - Food culture around the world. Sesha Iyengar - Google Books. Retrieved on 31 October Rawlinson - Google Books. Barnett - Google Books. Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper. Retrieved 24 September The Hindu Business line. Retrieved 29 January Retrieved 6 November Retrieved 22 January Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages. Retrieved 2 December Retrieved 14 May American Journal of Botany. Retrieved 7 November Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences.
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