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Pepper''s name comes from the Sanskrit Pippali nigrum, which means "black spice". Peppercorns have a pungent, woody aroma and hot, biting taste. Pepper is the only spice that is used to flavor food before, during and after cooking. Black Pepper is produced from the still-green unripe berries of the pepper plant. The berries are cooked briefly in hot water, both to clean them and to prepare them for drying. The berries are then dried in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dried, the spice is called black peppercorn.
Black peppercorns have a very strong flavor and are widely used in Indian cuisine. They are usually ground into a fine powder and then used as black pepper powder in recipes. Ground pepper usually loses its aroma faster than whole peppercorns and thus should be stored in air tight containers.
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