A SPECIALTY OF SARAWAK
Pepper, the world’s most widely used spice for food flavouring, is the fruit of the tropical climbing vine Piper nigrum L., native to south-western India. In Sarawak, pepper cultivation dates back to 1856 but more extensive planting started in the 1900s.
Today, pepper is one of the important cash crops supporting the livelihood of about 67,000 rural dwellers in upland areas of Sarawak. Holdings are small, averaging 0.2 ha. they concentrate in certain Districts of Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong and Sarikei Divisions. The present estimated planted area is about 13,000 ha.Sarawak exported about 19,748 tonnes of pepper in 2004 and 18,824 tonnes in 2003, valued at RM 113.2 million and RM 120.0 million respectively. Nearly 98% of Malaysian pepper is produced in Sarawak.
Currently, Malaysia ranks No. 5 after Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and Brazil in terms of pepper production. The production in 2004 was about 20,000 tonnes. Sarawak Pepper is harvested on the island of Borneo in Malaysia. The peppercorns are picked by hand one by one, then dried in the sun. Sarawak pepper is widely known across the globe and is the first choice of many. It can be added into dishes to enhance flavour , giving it an aromatic smell and adding spicyness, while also being rich in nutrients.
Pepper vines thrive in warm and wet tropical climate. They are normally grown from stem cuttings, rarely from seeds. The root system is developed from adventitious roots formed at nodes that are buried in the soil at planting. As the vegetative (orthotropic) shoot climbs upward, a simple leaf is produced at each node. A bunch of short adventitious roots also develops to help the shoot cling to the support. At each node an axillary bud grows into a lateral branch (plagiotropic) which eventually bears the fruit spikes.Flower spikes originate at the node opposite each leaf. Most cultivars have bisexual flowers that are usually self-pollinated.
The fruit is a berry, pale green and soft in the early stage, but turns dark green and hard as it matures. The outer skin (exocarp) becomes yellow and bright red and becomes soft as it ripens. Each berry contains a single seed enclosed by a pulpy mesocarp. The commercial black peppercorn is the entire dried berry whereas the white peppercorn is the seed. Peppercorn owes its pungency to the presence of the alkaloids piperine, chavicine and piperettine. Volatile essential oils give rise to the typical aroma. Together, these compounds constitute the oleoresin that can be recovered by solvent extraction. The spiciness and pungency are influenced by varieties and also the growing locale.
White Pepper is one of the favorite condiments for the dry , near-mature fruit of the pepper family. Warm and dispelling cold , lowering the air, eliminating phlegm; the surface is yellowish white, smooth, and there are many light-colored liner stripes between the top and the base. Its medicinal value is slightly higher than black pepper.
Compared with black pepper, white pepper is more of its medicinal effect, and its flavoring effect is not as good as black pepper. White pepper grains are generally ground into white pepper powder when eaten, but proper grains can also add a different taste to dishes. Don’t mistake the white pepper grains to be white. This is relative to black pepper. The color of white pepper is generally pale yellow, not pure white. White pepper is warm in nature, good at dispelling cold, and has a good relieving effect on stomach cold and abdominal pain, bowel diarrhea, etc., and can sweat at the same time. It has a good effect on the treatment of cold and cold. Its aromatic smell and it can also open up people’s appetite and increase appetite.
White pepper has a strong effect of repelling cold and warming the body, which is very suitable for people with cold constitution. Secondly, white pepper is eaten with warm broth such as mutton soup or beef soup, which has the therapeutic effect of warming the stomach, resolving phlegm, relieving cough and moisturizing the lungs. In addition, if you have poor gastrointestinal tract and frequent stomach pains or diarrhea, you can also add some white pepper to the stew, which can effectively warm the spleen and stomach. In short, white pepper is very suitable for people with cold constitution, and the effect is wonderful. In addition, the dishes with pepper are not easy to deteriorate, indicating that pepper has antiseptic and antibacterial effects, and it also has the effect of detoxifying fish and shrimp.
Black pepper is very green when the fruit is not yet ripe. It is exposed to the sun to make the skin shrivel and dry and become dark brown. Finally, it becomes a thin layer of wrinkles, retaining the proper taste of pepper, and the final result is pepper grain. Black pepper is rich in antioxidants. The use of black pepper in food is limitless. Something as simple as fried rice also can be spiked with pepper for additional flavor.
The taste is spicy and strong and taste is stronger than that of white pepper. Black pepper has a typical woody and pine woody aroma. and has a spicy taste. The fragrant flavor of black pepper comes from its containing piperine, which is mostly used in red meat (beef and lamb) cooking. Black pepper is a kind of spice that everyone is very familiar with and it is widely used in Chinese and Western food.
Freshly crushed pepper can be added in almost anything – from salads, sunny side-ups, and soups, to pastas, and even buttermilk. You can use it to spice up sauces for steaks or curries, or use it to coat meats such as duck or chicken before grilling it. Most experts will recommend that you cook pepper as less as possible; it’s the freshly ground ones that are most beneficial.