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Fruit of the Month- Pepper

By Jennifer Xiao

Black peppercorns copy

What is a fruit? A fruit is generally considered a sweet, edible product of a plant that contains a seed. What do people generally not consider fruits? Vegetables, grains, animals, bacteria, etc. The list goes on. However, people also do consider actual fruits vegetables, such as the case of the infamous tomato. Another example of this is the lovely pepper.
Though pepper’s currently only used as a spice or a preservative, it’s also been used as currency and presented to the gods. It’s really no surprise. Pepper has an impressive resume. If pepper were applying to colleges, pepper would get into Harvard.
Why? It makes things taste better and disguises how stale food is. Before things like refrigerators and preservatives besides salt, it was nice to at least pretend your food was fresh. Because it was mostly grown in places like India, it was the reason the spice trade started. If you think your shipping is expensive now, imagine how much it cost to get pepper from India to Europe back then. Naturally, this resulted in pepper being super expensive for Europeans – so much so that it could be used as currency.
But now? It’s nowhere close to being worth that much. Why do people still bother with it? Some people like the taste. Others like the health benefits. Even just tasting it can improve digestion, through the increase of hydrochloric acid secretion. It’s also diaphoretic and diuretic. It sounds strange, but eating a pepper can help cool you down. That’s not even all this tiny fruit does. Wanna lose weight? Try pepper, because the outer layer of the peppercorn helps stimulate fat cell breakdown. Wanna kill bacteria and promote the health of your digestive tract? Go for some more pepper. Low on manganese? You know what’s high in it? Pepper.
“But how do I eat this magnificent fruit?” you might ask. To get the best punch, get it whole. Grind it up yourself, and keep it in a tightly sealed glass container for when you want to use it. Buying it already ground is fine, too, so long as you use it before it loses its fantastic properties. Add it to steak, mashed potatoes, or even in salad. It’s a versatile fruit and spice, and there are so many things that could do with an extra kick. Try it now, or try it later, but do consider the beauty of the pepper.

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