Have you ever wondered how the beloved black pepper grows? Where does this condiment come from? Incredibly, Piper nigrum or the peppercorn plant has been around for centuries with records of its use dating back to ancient Greece and Rome that became popular in the 15th century when Portuguese explorer Vasco De Gama discovered it in India.
Often called “black gold,” black pepper grows on a vining plant (not a tree) with small, dark green, heart-shaped leaves. When the vine buds, it produces spikes that look like little flowers and turns into clusters of peppercorns.
Black pepper grows in warm climates (generally southern India and other tropical regions of Southeast Asia) and requires at least 6 hours of direct sunlight.
Pepper can also come in different colors! They could be green, black, red or white — that all comes from the same plant! The color is related to how ripe it is and how it’s been processed.
Incredibly, the growth process can take up to 4 years to develop, which might make you stop and think of its amazing journey before it reaches your plate to flavor your food.