Pepper, Pepper

Somewhere after Buon Ma Thout but before Nha Trang,
December 31st 2010

It wasn't a vast pepper plantation, but the pepper tree itself far exceeded the size I had always imagined about a pepper tree. Unconsciously, bearing the imagination of pepper just as tiny black seeds and even white sand, I imagined the tree must be a tiny tree as well.

A pepper tree grows by twining up a tree stem like this.

The thin pepper stock will take root on the tree stem as they twine up.

The ultimate sign of pepper...

You see that tiny green bean? That's pepper. To me it looks like bean. But BBC Knowledge called it "berry". Well, who am I to judge BBC's knowledge?

The pepper berries will spread up and change colors from light green to dark green, and then to orange. Unfortunately, when we came, the pepper berries hadn't turned into orange yet.

Black pepper is produced from dried pepper berries that has turned into dark green like the berries on the left side of this picture.

But, to produce white pepper, first one has to wait until the pepper berries turn into orange. And then, the beans have to be peeled like the berry on the right side of this picture. Before being dried under the sun, that peeled white berry inside has to be washed first. That's why white pepper is more expensive that black pepper. Not only because the process takes longer, but also because you will need more pepper berries to get, let's say one kilo, of white pepper than of black pepper.

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