Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chilli Cultivation

Chilli (Capsicum annuum) belongs to the genus Capsicum under Solanaceae family. The Chilli plant is a white flowered, dark green or purple leaved plant that grows upto 1.5 m in height. It is also called as hot

pepper, cayenne pepper, sweet pepper etc. Five species of Capsicum are under cultivation, though a number of wild species have been identified recently. In India, only two species viz. Capsicum annuum and Capsicum frutescens are known and most of the cultivated varieties belong to the species Capsicum annum. The native

home of chilli is considered to be Mexico with secondary origin of Gautemala. Chilli was introduced in India by the Portugese in Goa in the middle of 17th century and since then it had rapidly spread throughout the country.

Chilli besides imparting pungency and red colour to the dishes, is a rich source of vitamin A, C and E and assists in digestion. Recently, Russian scientists have identified Vitamin P in green chilli which is considered

to be important as it protects from secondary irradiation injury. The pungency in chilli is due to an alkaloid capsaicin which has high medicinal value. Capsaicin has many medicinal properties, especially as an anti-cancerous agent and instant pain reliever. It also prevents heart diseases by dilating blood vessels.

Capsicum pigment is incorporated in poultry feed. In Mexico, pigments are concentrated and blended in feed mix for chicken. This gives a reddish tint to the chicken meat, which is more valued. It is believed that

yolks of eggs of such chicken are also more coloured and healthy looking. Almost 80 percent of the capsaicin in chilli is in its seeds and membranes.

Chilli is an important ingredient in day to day curries, pickles and chutnies. Oleoresin, sauce and essence are prepared from chilli. Chilli is used in various forms; as raw fresh green chopped chilli ; or ground to a paste,

broken split or whole form. To preserve chilli for longer time it is pickled or sun-dried to get a "red" coat chilli which when powdered is used in pinch to get the desired level of pungency.

International Scenario :

The world area and production of chilli is around 15 lakh ha and 70 lakh tonne respectively. Major chilli growing countries are :
                                  India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey and Sri Lanka in Asia; Nigeria,
                                  Ghana, Tunisia and Egypt in Africa; Mexico, United States of America in North &                                         Central America; Yugoslavia, Spain, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy and Hungary in Europe                                     and Argentina, Peru and Brazil in South America.

India is the world leader in chilli production followed by China & Pakistan. The bulk share of chilli production is held by Asian countries. The major consumers of chilli in the world are India, China, Mexico, Thailand,

United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden. The major chilli exporting countries with their percentage share in world total exports are India (25 %), China (24 %), Spain (17 %), Mexico (8 %), Pakistan (7.2 %), Morocco (7 %) and Turkey (4.5 %). The world trade in chilli account for 16 % of the total spice trade in the world, occupying second position after black pepper. The major chilli importing countries are United Arab Emirates, European Union, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Japan and Korea.

Cultivation of Chilli in India 

India is a major producer, exporter and consumer of chilli. The area and production of chilli in the country is 6.81 lakh ha and 10.09 lakh tonne. The major states growing chilli in the country are :
                                   Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa,                                                Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal etc.

The productivity is high in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc., where chilli is grown under irrigation than in Maharashtra and Karnataka, where the crop is raised mainly under rainfed situations. The

major chilli growing districts of the country are Dharwad in Karnataka, Nagpur in Maharashtra and Prakasam, Khammam, Guntur and Warangal in Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh ranks first both in area and production.

Indian Chilli is mainly exported to Bangladesh, Bahrain, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, USA and UAE.

Organic Farming :

Organic farming is a crop production method respecting the rules of the nature. It maximises the use of onfarm resources and minimises the use of off-farm resources. It is a farming system that seeks to avoid the use of

chemical fertilisers and pesticides. In organic farming, entire system i.e. plant, animal, soil, water and micro-organisms are to be protected. The guidelines for organic farming is enclosed in Annexure 1.


Chilli requires a warm and humid climate for its best growth and dry weather during the maturation of fruits. Chilli crop comes up well in tropical and sub-tropical regions, but it has a wide range of adaptability and can withstand heat and moderate cold to some extent. The crop can be grown over a wide range of altitudes from sea level upto nearly 2100 m above MSL. It can be grown throughout the year under irrigation. It can be grown successfully as a rain-fed crop in areas receiving an annual rainfall of 850-1200 mm. Heavy rainfall leads to poor fruit set and in association with high humidity leads to rotting of fruits. Pungent chilli are susceptible to frost. A temperature ranging from 20-25°C is ideal for chilli. In chilli fruit development was found to be adversely affected at temperatures of 37°C or more. High temperature associated with low relative humidity at flowering increases the transpiration resulting in shedding of buds, flowers and small fruits.


Chilli can be grown in a range of soils, but black soils which retain moisture for long periods are suitable for rainfed crop whereas well drained soils, deltaic soils and sandy loams are good under irrigated condition. However, in hills of Uttarakhand, chilli are grown in a wide range of soils ranging from sandy to clay loam mixed with gravel and coarse sand.

Land Preparation

Land is prepared to a fine tilth by thorough ploughing / digging. Two to three ploughings are done to bring the soil to fine tilth. Stones and gravel are to be removed. In case of direct sowing, three to four ploughings are undertaken and sowing is done along with the last ploughing. The soil can be treated with azatobacter or azospirillum @ 1-1.25 kg mixed with 50 kg of farm yard manure and the same may be broadcast in the field. Farm Yard manure @ 4-6 t and 1-2 t of vermicompost can be added per acre.

Chilli is propagated by seeds. For raising nurseries, seeds of high yielding varieties with tolerance to pests and diseases may be used. They should be carefully selected from certified organic farms or from own seed plot which is raised organically. To start with, chemically untreated seeds from local high yielding varieties could also be used, in the absence of organically produced seeds.


Pusa Sadabahar, Pusa Jwala and Pant C-1 are the chilli varieties for cultivation in Uttarakhand, India. However, many of the farmers are growing varieties procured from Pantnagar for long and even using their own seeds.

Seed Treatment

Seeds should not be treated with any chemical fungicides or pesticides. However, it is always beneficial to adopt indigenous practices for seed treatment, wherever possible. The seeds may be treated with Trichoderma and Psuedomonas sp. @ 10 g per kg of seed to prevent incidence of seedling rot in the nursery. The ideal time for raising nursery is February - March in the hills of Uttarakhand,India .Transplanting would be done during the months of April - May. 400 g of seeds would be sufficient for raising nursery for transplantation in an area of acre.

Nursery Raising

Fresh seeds are sown in well prepared nursery beds. Although it can be sown by broadcast method in the main field, transplanting method is preferred for better quality and survival. The nursery bed is usually raised from ground level and is prepared by thorough mixing with compost and sand. Seeds treated with Trichoderma are sown and covered thinly using sand. The seeds germinate in 5 to 7 days. About 40 - 45 days old seedlings are transplanted in the main field.


40-45 days old seedlings are used for transplantation. Transplanting is generally done during the April-May in the hills of Uttarakhand , India . Seedlings are transplanted in shallow trenches / pits or on ridges / level lands. In some places, 60 cm x 60 cm or 45 cm x 30 cm or 30 cm x 30 cm spacing is also followed. However, a spacing of 60 cm x 30 cm with a plant population of about 22200 seedlings per acre or 45 cm x 45 cm with a plant population of 19750 per acre are considered optimum.

Direct Sowing

Direct sowing is practiced under rainfed conditions. For direct sown crop, the seeds are drilled by the end of March or first week of April in India. Seed rate is 2.5-3.0 kg per acre. After 30-40 days of sowing, thinning and gap filling is done on a cloudy day.


Chilli cannot withstand heavy moisture. Hence irrigation should be given only when necessary. Frequent and heavy irrigation induces lanky vegetative growth and cause flower shedding. Plant growth, branching and dry matter accumulation are adversely affected by excess irrigation. The number of irrigation and interval between irrigation depends on soil and climatic conditions. If the plants show drooping of leaves at 4 p.m., it is an indication that irrigation is needed. Flowering and fruit development in chilli are the most critical stages of water requirement. Normally chilli is grown under rain-fed condition. However, under irrigated condition, care should be taken to avoid using water contaminated with fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides. Irrigation should be done judiciously. Stagnation of water should not be allowed in nursery beds and fields in order to avoid fungal infection.


Organic manures such as farmyard manure is applied @ 4 t/acre. However, it is always advisable to use compost/farmyard manure from own farm rather than from outside the farm. Restricted use of permitted mineral fertilizers under organic system can be done depending on requirement, on the basis of soil analysis. Use of bio-fertilizers can also be resorted to in combination with organic inputs.

Plant protection


Thrips, mites, aphids, root grubs and pod borers are the major pests in chilli. To avoid infestation of root
thrips damaging chilli leaves

grub, only well rotten farmyard manure should be applied in the field. Application of neem cake @ 100 kg/acre is advisable for control of root grubs. Change in the agronomic practices to disturb the life cycle of the
thrips damaging chilli leaves

grub is also found useful. To control the infestation of root grub, light traps can be laid out from March. Grass can be heaped at different places in the field and the grubs which accumulate in these heaps may be
thrips damaging chilli leaves

collected in the early morning and destroyed. 400 g/acre of Beauvaria bassiana( in India) may be broadcast in the field. In India transplanting before first fortnight of April also helps in reducing the incidence of root grub.

Application of neem seed kernel extract (NSKE) can be done for control of thrips, aphids and mites.
aphids damaging leaves
  10 kg of neem seed kernels may be boiled in 15 l of water. 200 ml of this extract may be mixed in 15 l of water and four to five sprays may be given to control sucking pests. Farmers also use seed extracts of

Bakaine (Melia azadirach) along with Bichoo Grass (Urtica dioica) for control of pests. Release of larvae of Chrysoperla cornea, a bio control agent, once in 15 days is also helpful in controlling thrips and mites.
Aphids (class of inspecta order)

Fruit (pod) borers are the major pests which cause considerable damage to the crop. They can be managed to a certain extent by adoption of bio control measures. Restricted installation of pheromone traps in the field

@ 5 no. per acre helps to monitor the adult moths. Ten days after spotting the moths in the traps, 4-5
dust mite

spraying with Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV) @ 200 LE (larval equivalent)/acre is beneficial to control the early larval stage of the pod borers. The egg masses of Spodoptera borer can be mechanically collected
dust mite

and destroyed. Trichogramma, an egg parasite, may be released two days after appearance of moths. Spraying of neem products like neem oil, neem seed kernel extract and restricted use of Bacillus thuringiensis
spider mite

@ 0.4 kg/acre are beneficial. All the shed fruits and part of inflorescence should be collected and destroyed at regular intervals.

How to Control Aphids

Aphids are tiny insects (1/32 to 1/8 of an inch) that have piercing/sucking mouth parts. They infest tender new foliage on both annual and permanent plants, usually in spring or early summer. Aphids ingest the fluids from
Aphids damaging leaves

tender leaf or stem tissue of the plant, robbing it of nutrients. Aphids also spread disease by moving from one plant to another. Even without resorting to chemical methods, they're not difficult to get rid of.

Aphids  are normally  found on the undersides of leaves and on tender new growth.One can  notice a yellowing of the leaves on new growth, most often in the spring or early summer months. Aphids are usually found in large colonies, called infestations.

The easiest way to control aphids  is  to spray a  strong jet of water directly onto the affected area of the plant. The stream will wash the insects off.

Aphids can also be removed by spraying with a soap/oil mixture if the water alone doesn't do the job. One tsp. insecticidal soap with 1/2 tsp. horticultural oil in 1 quart water in a spray bottle to be mixed. There are also numerous chemical sprays available.

Ladybugs can also be tried for serious aphid infestations.

Other types of predatory insects can also be atracted that will consume and control aphids by planting dill, fennel, coreopsis and brightly colored flowers near the aphid-prone plants.

As a preventive measure, spray during the dormant season (winter) to head off severe recurring infestations - aphid eggs overwinter on woody stems. Use a dormant-season oil spray.

Select and grow plants that are naturally resistant to aphids. These include plants with a milky sap and thick or fuzzy leaves; the particular plants will vary depending on where you live.

Hummingbirds eat aphids too!They are to be encouraged to visit the garden by hanging a feeder and keeping it clean and full.


Fruit rot & Die back caused by Colletotrichum capsici and bacterial wilt are the two major diseases of chilli. Bacterial leaf spot, powdery mildew and mosaic disease (caused by virus) are the major diseases of chilli. Careful seed selection and adoption of phytosanitary measures will check the diseases of chilli. Early removal of affected plants will control the spread of the diseases. Seed treatment with Trichoderma takes care of seedling rot in nursery. Varieties tolerant to diseases should be used wherever the disease is severe. Rouging and destruction of affected plants help in checking the mosaic virus. For effective disease control, 10 g of Trichoderma or Pseduomonas sp. per litre of water should be used for spraying.


Chilli is highly perishable in nature. It requires more attention during harvest, storage and transportation. Harvesting should be done at the right stage of maturity. Dark green fruit should be plucked for preparing chilli pickle. For dry chilli and for making chilli powder, picking should be done when the fruit is dark red. Ripe fruits are to be harvested at frequent intervals. Retaining fruits for a long period on the plants causes wrinkles and colour fading. Crop is ready for harvesting in about 90 days after transplanting. About 5-6 pickings are made for dry chilli and 8-10 pickings for green chilli.

Growth Phases in Chilli

The crop duration of chilli is about 150-180 days depending on variety, season and climate, fertility and water management. The growth of chilli comprises of vegetative and reproductive phases. In general , the vegetative phase in chilli extends to 75-85 days followed by 75-95 days of reproductive phase. The vegetative phase is characterised by increase in plant height with profuse branching. Heavy branching is preferred for better aeration and sunlight infiltration into the canopy over compact varieties. This also helps in preventing fruit rot. Flowering starts from 80-85 days of the crop or 40-45 days after transplanting. Chilli plant is an often cross pollinated crop with 50% of natural crossing. For fruit development and maturity about 40 days time is required after anthesis and pollination.


The yield of fresh chilli varies from 30-40 q/acre depending on variety and growing conditions. Out of 100 kg of fresh fruits 25-35 kg of dried fruits may be obtained. The yield of dry chilli is expected to be in the range of 7.5 to 10 q/acre. However, in the present model, yield of 8 q/acre has been assumed.

Post Harvest Management :


Chilli on harvesting have a moisture content of 65-80% depending on whether partially dried on the plant or harvested while still succulent. This must be reduced to 8-10% to avoid microbial activity and aflatoxin production. Traditionally, this has been achieved by sun - drying of fruits immediately after harvesting, the most common practice in India, without any special form of treatment. Soon after harvest, the produce is to heaped or kept in clean gunnies for one day for uniform colour development of the pods. The best temperature for ripening is 22-25°C and direct sun light is to be avoided since this can result in the development of white patches. The preparation of drying floor differs from tract to tract. Heaped fruits are spread out in thin layers in the sun on hard dry ground or on concrete floors or even on the flat roofs of houses, frequent stirrings are given during day time in order to get uniform drying and thereby avoid discolouration or mould growth. Levelled and compacted floor is to be made for drying. From the fifth day onwards, the produce is inverted on alternate days so that the pods in the lower layers are brought up to ensure quick and uniform drying. While drying, the produce can be covered with polythene sheets during night time to avoid dew deposition and resultant colour fading.

Since the produce is exposed to sun for 10-15 days in the open yards, it is likely to get contaminated with foreign matter like dust and dirt, damaged by rainfall, animals, birds and insects. Traditional method of harvesting and sun drying involves poor handling of fruits resulting in bruising and splitting. Bruises shows up as discoloured spots on pods, splitting leads to an excessive amount of loose seeds in a consignment and there is a considerable loss in weight and then in price. If the harvested fruits are not properly dried and protected from rain and pests, it will loose the colour, glossiness and pungency. The losses due to this method may range from 30-40 % of the total quantity.

The produce can be dried within a period of 18 hours using air blown drier keeping the temperature at 44o - 46o C. This method not only saves time, avoids the drying operations for 10-15 days but also imparts deep red colour and glossy texture to the fruits. Solar drier and tray drier can be used. RRL (Jammu) has devised a Solar Drier for drying chilli which effects complete drying of the commodity in 4-5 days with a marked improvement in colour and storage characteristics. The gadget is very simple and is made of mud, stone pebbles and glass panes and is specially suited for rural areas. It can be conveniently constructed by village artisans. With the extensive use of such solar driers, sizeable quantities of red chilli can be produced in rural areas.

Grading & Packing

Grading is to be done to remove defective and discoloured pods. All diseased, deformed and discoloured fruits should be removed before marketing and storage. Well dried pods after removing the extraneous matters like plant parts, etc. should be packed in clean, dry gunny bags and stored ensuring protection from dampness.


Chilli should be properly stored to avoid infestation of pests. Storage is a must for off-season consumption and marketing. While dry chilli powder can be stored at home, green fruit has to be kept in cold storage. It is preferable to store dried chilli in refrigerated condition (cold storage) to retain colour. Dunnage has to be provided to stack the packed bags to prevent moisture ingress from the floor. Care should be taken to stack the bags at 50 –60 cm away from the wall. Storing chilli for longer periods may lead to deterioration. However, if cold storage facilities are used, the product may be stored for 8-10 months. Insects, rodents and other animals should be effectively prevented from getting access to the premises where chilli is stored.


Processed products such as dehydrated chilli, pickle, powder, paste, sauce, etc., can be prepared for higher returns. Almost all chilli growers sell it directly. The farmers will be in a position to get better returns by value addition in the form of processed products. Hence, farmers must be educated in the processing of chilli.

Technical guidance in India

Technical guidance for organic chilli cultivation is being provided by Master Trainers at the block level working with the Department of Agriculture.In India Service Providers of Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board at the district level also help these Master Trainers in guiding the farmers. Apart from this, G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board may also be approached for technical guidance and marketing of the produce.

Export Oriented Production

In India , Spices Board supports production, processing, certification and marketing of organic spices. The Spices Board is also implementing the scheme for Export Oriented Production during the XI Plan wherein assistance is being provided for promotion of organic chilli under various programmes .

Culinary uses

Chili pepper pods, which are berries, are used fresh or dried. Chiles are often dried to preserve them for long periods of time. Preserving may also be done by pickling fresh chilies.

Dried chilies are often ground to powders, although some Mexican dishes including variations on chiles rellenos may use whole reconstituted chilies, and others may reconstitute dried chilies before grinding to a paste. Chilies may be dried using smoke, such as the chipotle, which is the smoked, dried form of the jalapeño.

Many fresh chilies such as poblano have a tough outer skin which does not break down on cooking. For recipes where chiles are used whole or in large slices, roasting, or other means of blistering or charring the skin are usually performed so as not to entirely cook the flesh beneath. When cooled, the skins will usually slip off easily.

Chili pepper plant leaves, mildly bitter but nowhere near as hot as the fruits that come from the same plant, are cooked as greens in Filipino cuisine, where they are called dahon ng sili (literally "chili leaves"). They are used in the chicken soup, tinola. In Korean cuisine, the leaves may be used in kimchi. In Japanese cuisine, the leaves are cooked as greens, and also cooked in tsukudani style for preservation.

Chili is by far the most important fruit in Bhutan. Local markets are never without chili, always teemed with different colors and sizes, in fresh and dried form. Bhutanese call this crop ema (in Dzongkha) or solo (in Sharchop). Chili is a staple fruit in Bhutan; the ema datsi recipe is entirely made of chili mixed with local cheese. Chili is also an important ingredient in almost all curries and food recipes in the country.

Medicinal Uses

Capsaicin is a safe and effective topical analgesic agent in the management of arthritis pain, herpes zoster-related pain, diabetic neuropathy, postmastectomy pain, and headaches.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Black Pepper cultivation

Scientific classification

Kingdom                        : Plantae
(unranked)                      : Angiosperms
(unranked)                      : Magnoliids
Order                             : Piperales
Family                            : Piperaceae
Genus                             : Piper
Species                           : P. nigrum
Binomial name                 : Piper nigrum

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is one of the oldest spice crops. It is consumed throughout the world more than any other spice, as black, white, and green peppercorns. India is a major exporter and there is long established tradition of commercial cultivation by smallholders.

Black pepper  is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately 5

millimetres (0.20 in) in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed. Peppercorns, and the powdered pepper derived from grinding them, may be described simply as pepper, or more precisely as black pepper, white pepper, or green pepper. Green peppercorns are simply the immature black peppercorns.

Black peppers are native to India and are extensively cultivated there and elsewhere in tropical regions. Currently Vietnam is by far the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum crop as of 2008.

Dried ground pepper has been used since antiquity for both its flavour and as a medicine. Black pepper is the world's most traded spice. It is one of the most common spices added to European cuisine and its

descendants. The spiciness of black pepper is due to the chemical piperine. It may be found on nearly every dinner table in the industrialized world, often alongside table salt.


The word "pepper" is ultimately derived from the Tamil/Malayalam word for long pepper, pippali. Black pepper is marica. Ancient Greek and Latin borrowed pippali to refer to either via the Latin piper which was used by the Romans to refer both to pepper and long pepper, as the Romans erroneously believed that both

of these spices were derived from the same plant.[citation needed] The English word for pepper is derived from the Old English pipor. The Latin word is also the source of Italian pepe, Dutch peper, German Pfeffer, French poivre, and other similar forms. In the 16th century, pepper started referring to the unrelated New World chile peppers as well. "Pepper" was used in a figurative sense to mean "spirit" or "energy" at least as far back as the 1840s; in the early 20th century, this was shortened to pep. In Nepal it is known as Marich

Varieties and types

There are more than 100 cultivars of black pepper in India with names such as 'Balamcotta', 'Kalluvalli' and 'Cheria Kaniakadan'. They are distinguished from each other in leaf shape and size and flowering and fruiting characteristics.

The same species is used to produce black, white and green peppercorns. It is also used to produce pepper oil and oleoresin. The oil is obtained by steam distillation of the fruits and the oleoresin by solvent extraction. They give a much stronger flavour than the spice and are mainly used in convenience foods.

Black pepper

Black pepper is produced from the still-green unripe drupes of the pepper plant. The drupes are cooked briefly in hot water, both to clean them and to prepare them for drying. The heat ruptures cell walls in the
Black pepper flower

pepper, speeding the work of browning enzymes during drying. The drupes are 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. On some estates, the berries are separated from the stem by foot and then sun dried without the boiling process.

Once the Pepper corns are dried, pepper spirit & oil can be extracted from the berries by crushing it. Pepper spirit is used in famous beverages like Coca-Cola and many other medicinal or beauty products. Pepper oil is also used as an ayurvedic massage oil or used in beauty and herbal treatments.

White pepper

White pepper consists of the seed of the pepper plant alone, with the darker coloured skin of the pepper fruit removed. This is usually accomplished by a process known as retting, where fully ripe red pepper berries are soaked in water for about a week, during which the flesh of the pepper softens and decomposes. Rubbing then removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Alternative processes are used for removing the outer pepper from the seed, including decortication, the removal of the outer layer through mechanical, chemical or biological methods.

White pepper is sometimes used in dishes like Salad, Chinese Cooking, light-coloured sauces or mashed potatoes, where ground black pepper would visibly stand out. They have differing flavour due to the presence of certain compounds in the outer fruit layer of the drupe that are not found in the seed.

Green pepper

Green pepper, like black, is made from the unripe drupes. Dried green peppercorns are treated in a way that retains the green color, such as treatment with sulfur dioxide, canning or freeze-drying. Pickled peppercorns, also green, are unripe drupes preserved in brine or vinegar. Fresh, unpreserved green pepper drupes, largely unknown in the West, are used in some Asian cuisines, particularly Thai cuisine. Their flavour has been described as piquant and fresh, with a bright aroma. They decay quickly if not dried or preserved.

 A product called orange pepper or red pepper consists of ripe red pepper drupes preserved in brine and vinegar. Ripe red peppercorns can also be dried using the same colour-preserving techniques used to

produce green pepper. Pink pepper from Piper nigrum is distinct from the more-common dried pink peppercorns, which are the fruits of a plant from a different family, the Peruvian pepper tree, Schinus molle, and its relative the Brazilian pepper tree, Schinus terebinthifolius.

The bark of Drimys winteri (Canelo or Winter's Bark) is used as a substitute for pepper in cold and temperate regions of Chile and Argentina where it is easily available. In New Zealand the seeds of Kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) are used as pepper and the leaves of Pseudowintera colorata (Mountain horopito) are used as a replacement for pepper.

Region of origin

Peppercorns are often categorised under a label describing their region or port of origin. Two well-known types come from India's Malabar Coast: Malabar pepper and Tellicherry pepper. Tellicherry is a higher-grade pepper, made from the largest, ripest 10% of fruits from Malabar plants grown on Mount Tellicherry. Sarawak pepper is produced in the Malaysian portion of Borneo.

Lampung pepper on Indonesia's island of Sumatra. White Muntok pepper is another Indonesian product. Vietnam peppers are white and black pepper and come from Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Chu Se and Binh Phuoc.


The pepper plant is a perennial woody vine growing to four metres in height on supporting trees, poles, or trellises. It is a spreading vine, rooting readily where trailing stems touch the ground. The leaves are alternate,
black pepper powder

entire, five to ten centimetres long and three to six centimetres broad. The flowers are small, produced on pendulous spikes four to eight centimetres long at the leaf nodes, the spikes lengthening to seven to 15 centimetres as the fruit matures. The fruit of the black pepper is called a drupe and when dried it is a peppercorn.

Black pepper is grown in soil that is neither too dry nor susceptible to flooding, moist, well-drained and rich in organic matter (the vines do not do too well over an altitude of 3000 ft above sea level). The plants are propagated by cuttings about 40 to 50 centimetres long, tied up to neighbouring trees or climbing frames at distances of about two metres apart; trees with rough bark are favoured over those with smooth bark, as the pepper plants climb rough bark more readily. Competing plants are cleared away, leaving only sufficient trees to provide shade and permit free ventilation. The roots are covered in leaf mulch and manure, and the shoots

are trimmed twice a year. On dry soils the young plants require watering every other day during the dry season for the first three years. The plants bear fruit from the fourth or fifth year, and typically continue to bear fruit for seven years. The cuttings are usually cultivars, selected both for yield and quality of fruit. A single stem will bear 20 to 30 fruiting spikes. The harvest begins as soon as one or two fruits at the base of the spikes begin to turn red, and before the fruit is fully mature, and still hard; if allowed to ripen completely , the fruit lose pungency, and ultimately fall off and are lost. The spikes are collected and spread out to dry in the sun, then the peppercorns are stripped off the spikes.

Black pepper is native to India. Within the genus Piper, it is most closely related to other Asian species such as Piper caninum.


Pepper has been used as a spice in India since prehistoric times. Pepper is native to India and has been known to Indian cooking since at least 2000 BCE. J. Innes Miller notes that while pepper was grown in southern Thailand and in Malaysia, its most important source was India, particularly the Malabar Coast, in what is now the state of Kerala. Peppercorns were a much-prized trade good, often referred to as "black gold" and used as a form of commodity money. The term "peppercorn rent" still exists today.

The ancient history of black pepper is often interlinked with (and confused with) that of long pepper, the dried fruit of closely related Piper longum. The Romans knew of both and often referred to either as just "piper". In
Black pepper oil

fact, it was not until the discovery of the New World and of chile peppers that the popularity of long pepper entirely declined. Chile peppers, some of which when dried are similar in shape and taste to long pepper, were easier to grow in a variety of locations more convenient to Europe.

After the Middle Ages, virtually all of the black pepper found in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa was from India's Malabar region. By the 16th century, due to the Portuguese influence, pepper was also being grown in Java, Sunda, Sumatra, Madagascar, Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, but these areas traded mainly with China, or used the pepper locally. Ports in the Malabar area also served as a stop-off point for much of the trade in other spices from farther east in the Indian Ocean.

Black pepper, along with other spices from India and lands farther east, changed the course of world history. It was in some part the preciousness of these spices that led to the Portuguese efforts to find a sea route to India during the age of discovery and consequently to the Portuguese colonial occupation of that country, as well as the European discovery and colonisation of the Americas.

Ancient times
Black peppercorns were found stuffed in the nostrils of Ramesses II, placed there as part of the mummification rituals shortly after his death in 1213 BCE. Little else is known about the use of pepper in ancient Egypt and how it reached the Nile from India.

Pepper (both long and black) was known in Greece at least as early as the 4th century BCE, though it was probably an uncommon and expensive item that only the very rich could afford. Trade routes of the time were by land, or in ships which hugged the coastlines of the Arabian Sea. Long pepper, growing in the north-western part of India, was more accessible than the black pepper from further south; this trade advantage, plus long pepper's greater spiciness, probably made black pepper less popular at the time.

By the time of the early Roman Empire, especially after Rome's conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE, open-ocean crossing of the Arabian Sea directly to southern India's Malabar Coast was near routine. Details of this trading across the Indian Ocean have been passed down in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. According to the Roman geographer Strabo, the early Empire sent a fleet of around 120 ships on an annual one-year trip to India and back. The fleet timed its travel across the Arabian Sea to take advantage of the predictable monsoon winds. Returning from India, the ships travelled up the Red Sea, from where the cargo was carried overland or via the Nile Canal to the Nile River, barged to Alexandria, and shipped from there to Italy and Rome. The rough geographical outlines of this same trade route would dominate the pepper trade into Europe for a millennium and a half to come.

With ships sailing directly to the Malabar coast, black pepper was now travelling a shorter trade route than long pepper, and the prices reflected it. Pliny the Elder's Natural History tells us the prices in Rome around 77 CE: "Long pepper ... is fifteen denarii per pound, while that of white pepper is seven, and of black, four." Pliny also complains "there is no year in which India does not drain the Roman Empire of fifty million sesterces," and further moralises on pepper:

It is quite surprising that the use of pepper has come so much into fashion, seeing that in other substances which we use, it is sometimes their sweetness, and sometimes their appearance that has attracted our notice; whereas, pepper has nothing in it that can plead as a recommendation to either fruit or berry, its only desirable quality being a certain pungency; and yet it is for this that we import it all the way from India! Who was the first to make trial of it as an article of food? and who, I wonder, was the man that was not content to prepare himself by hunger only for the satisfying of a greedy appetite?

Black pepper was a well-known and widespread, if expensive, seasoning in the Roman Empire. Apicius' De re coquinaria, a 3rd-century cookbook probably based at least partly on one from the 1st century CE, includes pepper in a majority of its recipes. Edward Gibbon wrote, in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, that pepper was "a favourite ingredient of the most expensive Roman cookery".

Postclassical Europe

Pepper was so valuable that it was often used as collateral or even currency. In the Dutch language, "pepper expensive" (peperduur) is an expression for something very expensive. The taste for pepper (or the appreciation of its monetary value) was passed on to those who would see Rome fall. It is said[by whom?] that Alaric the Visigoth and Attila the Hun each demanded from Rome a ransom of more than a ton of pepper when they besieged the city in 5th century. After the fall of Rome, others took over the middle legs of the spice trade, first the Persians and then the Arabs; Innes Miller cites the account of Cosmas Indicopleustes, who travelled east to India, as proof that "pepper was still being exported from India in the sixth century". By the end of the Early Middle Ages, the central portions of the spice trade were firmly under Islamic control. Once into the Mediterranean, the trade was largely monopolised by Italian powers, especially Venice and Genoa. The rise of these city-states was funded in large part by the spice trade.

A riddle authored by Saint Aldhelm, a 7th-century Bishop of Sherborne, sheds some light on black pepper's role in England at that time:

I am black on the outside, clad in a wrinkled cover,
Yet within I bear a burning marrow.
I season delicacies, the banquets of kings, and the luxuries of the table,
Both the sauces and the tenderized meats of the kitchen.
But you will find in me no quality of any worth,
 Unless your bowels have been rattled by my gleaming marrow.

It is commonly believed that during the Middle Ages, pepper was used to conceal the taste of partially rotten meat. There is no evidence to support this claim, and historians view it as highly unlikely: in the Middle Ages, pepper was a luxury item, affordable only to the wealthy, who certainly had unspoiled meat available as well. In addition, people of the time certainly knew that eating spoiled food would make them sick. Similarly, the belief that pepper was widely used as a preservative is questionable: it is true that piperine, the compound that gives pepper its spiciness, has some antimicrobial properties, but at the concentrations present when pepper is used as a spice, the effect is small. Salt is a much more effective preservative, and salt-cured meats were common fare, especially in winter. However, pepper and other spices probably did play a role in improving the taste of long-preserved meats.

Its exorbitant price during the Middle Ages—and the monopoly on the trade held by Italy—was one of the inducements which led the Portuguese to seek a sea route to India. In 1498, Vasco da Gama became the first person to reach India by sailing around Africa; asked by Arabs in Calicut (who spoke Spanish and Italian) why they had come, his representative replied, "we seek Christians and spices". Though this first trip to India by way of the southern tip of Africa was only a modest success, the Portuguese quickly returned in greater numbers and eventually gained much greater control of trade on the Arabian sea. It was given additional legitimacy (at least from a European imperialistic perspective) by the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, which granted Portugal exclusive rights to the half of the world where black pepper originated.

The Portuguese proved unable to maintain their stranglehold on the spice trade for long. The old Arab and Venetian trade networks successfully 'smuggled' enormous quantities of spices through the patchy Portuguese blockade, and pepper once again flowed through Alexandria and Italy, as well as around Africa. In the 17th century, the Portuguese lost almost all of their valuable Indian Ocean trade to the Dutch and the English who, taking advantage from the Spanish ruling over Portugal (1580–1640), occupied by force almost all Portuguese dominations in the area. The pepper ports of Malabar began to trade increasingly with the Dutch in the period 1661–1663.

 As pepper supplies into Europe increased, the price of pepper declined (though the total value of the import trade generally did not). Pepper, which in the early Middle Ages had been an item exclusively for the rich, started to become more of an everyday seasoning among those of more average means. Today, pepper accounts for one-fifth of the world's spice trade.


It is possible that black pepper was known in China in the 2nd century BCE, if poetic reports regarding an explorer named Tang Meng  are correct. Sent by Emperor Wu to what is now south-west China, Tang Meng is said to have come across something called jujiang or "sauce-betel". He was told it came from the markets of Shu, an area in what is now the Sichuan province. The traditional view among historians is that "sauce-betel" is a sauce made from betel leaves, but arguments have been made that it actually refers to pepper, either long or black.

In the 3rd century AD, black pepper made its first definite appearance in Chinese texts, as hujiao or "foreign pepper". It does not appear to have been widely known at the time, failing to appear in a 4th-century work describing a wide variety of spices from beyond China's southern border, including long pepper. By the 12th century, however, black pepper had become a popular ingredient in the cuisine of the wealthy and powerful, sometimes taking the place of China's native Sichuan pepper (the tongue-numbing dried fruit of an unrelated plant).

Marco Polo testifies to pepper's popularity in 13th-century China when he relates what he is told of its consumption in the city of Kinsay (Hangzhou): "... Messer Marco heard it stated by one of the Great Kaan's officers of customs that the quantity of pepper introduced daily for consumption into the city of Kinsay amounted to 43 loads, each load being equal to 223 lbs." Marco Polo is not considered a very reliable source regarding China, and this second-hand data may be even more suspect, but if this estimated 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg) a day for one city is anywhere near the truth, China's pepper imports may have dwarfed Europe's.

As medicine

Health benefits

· Black pepper stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion.
· Black pepper is an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of iron and vitamin K, and a good source of dietary fiber
· Black pepper has long been recognized as a carminitive, (a substance that helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas), a property likely due to its beneficial effect of stimulating hydrochloric acid production. In addition, black pepper has diaphoretic (promotes sweating), and diuretic (promotes urination) properties.
· Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant properties.

 Like many eastern spices, pepper was historically both a seasoning and a medicine. Long pepper, being stronger, was often the preferred medication, but both were used.

Black Pepper (or perhaps long pepper) was believed to cure illness such as constipation, diarrhea, earache, gangrene, heart disease, hernia, hoarseness, indigestion, insect bites, insomnia, joint pain, liver problems, lung disease, oral abscesses, sunburn, tooth decay, and toothaches.Various sources from the 5th century onward also recommend pepper to treat eye problems, often by applying salves or poultices made with pepper directly to the eye. There is no current medical evidence that any of these treatments has any benefit; pepper applied directly to the eye would be quite uncomfortable and possibly damaging. Nevertheless, Black pepper either powdered or its decoction is widely used in traditional Indian medicine and as a home remedy for relief from sore throat, throat congestion, cough etc.

Pepper is known to cause sneezing. Some sources say that piperine, a substance present in black pepper, irritates the nostrils, causing the sneezing; Few, if any, controlled studies have been carried out to answer the question. It has been shown that piperine can dramatically increase absorption of selenium, vitamin B, beta-carotene and curcumin as well as other nutrients.

Pepper contains small amounts of safrole, a mildly carcinogenic compound.Also, it is eliminated from the diet of patients having abdominal surgery and ulcers because of its irritating effect upon the intestines, being replaced by what is referred to as a bland diet. However, extracts from black pepper have been found to have antioxidant properties and anti-carcinogenic effects, especially when compared to chili.

Piperine present in black pepper acts as a thermogenic compound. Piperine enhances the thermogenesis of lipid and accelerates energy metabolism in the body and also increases the serotonin and beta-endorphin production in the brain.

Piperine and other components from black pepper may also be helpful in treating vitiligo, although when combined with UV radiation should be staggered due to the effect of light on the compound.


Pepper gets its spicy heat mostly from the piperine compound, which is found both in the outer fruit and in the seed. Black pepper contains between 4.6% and 9.7% piperine by mass, and white pepper slightly more than that. Refined piperine, by weight, is about one percent as hot as the capsaicin in chili peppers. The outer fruit layer, left on black pepper, also contains important odour-contributing terpenes including pinene, sabinene, limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool, which give citrusy, woody, and floral notes. These scents are mostly missing in white pepper, which is stripped of the fruit layer. White pepper can gain some different odours (including musty notes) from its longer fermentation stage.

Pepper loses flavour and aroma through evaporation, so airtight storage helps preserve pepper's original spiciness longer. Pepper can also lose flavour when exposed to light, which can transform piperine into nearly tasteless isochavicine. Once ground, pepper's aromatics can evaporate quickly; most culinary sources recommend grinding whole peppercorns immediately before use for this reason. Handheld pepper mills (or "pepper grinders"), which mechanically grind or crush whole peppercorns, are used for this, sometimes instead of pepper shakers, dispensers of pre-ground pepper. Spice mills such as pepper mills were found in European kitchens as early as the 14th century, but the mortar and pestle used earlier for crushing pepper remained a popular method for centuries after as well.

World trade

Peppercorns (dried black pepper) are, by monetary value, the most widely traded spice in the world, accounting for 20 percent of all spice imports in 2002. The price of pepper can be volatile, and this figure fluctuates a great deal year to year; for example, pepper made up 39 percent of all spice imports in 1998. By weight, slightly more chilli peppers are traded worldwide than peppercorns. The International Pepper Exchange is located in Kochi, India. Participation on the IPE however is domestic with regulatory restrictions on international membership on local exchanges; something common to almost all Asian commodity exchanges.

Black peppercorns

As of 2008, Vietnam is the world's largest producer and exporter of pepper, producing 34% of the world's Piper nigrum. Other major producers include India (19%), Brazil (13%), Indonesia (9%), Malaysia (8%), Sri Lanka (6%), China (6%), and Thailand (4%). Global pepper production peaked in 2003 with over 355,000 t (391,000 short tons), but has fallen to just over 271,000 t (299,000 short tons) by 2008 due to a series of issues including poor crop management, disease and weather. Vietnam dominates the export market, using almost none of its production domestically; however its 2007 crop fell by nearly 10% from the previous year to about 90,000 t (99,000 short tons). Similar crop yields occurred in 2007 across the other pepper producing nations as well.

Rajma(red beans) Cultivation

Rajma (Red Kidney Beans/Phaseolus vulgaris)

Scientific classification

Kingdom                 : Plantae
(unranked)               : Angiosperms
(unranked)               : Eudicots
(unranked)               : Rosids
Order                      : Fabales
Family                     : Fabaceae
Genus                      : Phaseolus
Species                    : P. vulgaris
Binomial name         : Phaseolus vulgaris

The kidney bean with its dark red skin is named for its visual resemblance to a kidney. The kidney bean is

also known as the red bean, although this usage can cause confusion with other red beans. Red kidney beans (Rājmā in Hindi and Punjabi) are an integral part of the cuisine in northern region of India.

Phaseolus vulgaris, the common bean, is an herbaceous annual plant domesticated independently in ancient Mesoamerica and the Andes, and now grown worldwide for its edible bean, popular both dry and as a green bean. The leaf is occasionally used as a leaf vegetable, and the straw is used for fodder. Beans, squash and maize constituted the "Three Sisters" that provided the foundation of Native American agriculture.

Botanically, the common bean is classified as a dicotyledon. Beans are a legume and thus acquire their nitrogen through an association with rhizobia, a species of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. 18.3 million tonnes
of dry common beans and 6.6 million tonnes of green beans were grown worldwide in 2007.

The other major type of bean is the broad bean (Vicia faba), of which only 3.7 million tonnes were grown
in 2007. The commercial production of beans is well-distributed worldwide with countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, South and North America all among the top bean growers. Brazil and India are the largest producers of dry beans while China produces, by far, the largest quantity of green beans, almost as much as the rest of the top ten growers combined.

How to germinate red kidney beans from dried seed.


The common bean is a highly variable species with a long history. Bush varieties form erect bushes 20–60 centimeters (7.9–24 in) tall, while pole or running varieties form vines 2–3 meters (6 ft 7 in–9 ft 10 in) long. All varieties bear alternate, green or purple leaves, divided into three oval, smooth-edged leaflets, each 6–15 centimeters (2.4–5.9 in) long and 3–11 centimeters (1.2–4.3 in) wide. The white, pink, or purple flowers are about 1 cm long, and give way to pods 8–20 centimeters (3.1–7.9 in) long, 1–1.5 cm wide, green, yellow, black or purple in color, each containing 4–6 beans. The beans are smooth, plump, kidney-shaped, up to 1.5 cm long, range widely in color, and are often mottled in two or more colors.

Dry beans

Similar to other beans, the common bean is high in starch, protein and dietary fiber and is an excellent source of iron, potassium, selenium, molybdenum, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folic acid.

Dry beans will keep indefinitely if stored in a cool, dry place, but as time passes, their nutritive value and flavor degrade and cooking times lengthen. Dried beans are almost always cooked by boiling, often after having been soaked for several hours. While the soaking is not strictly necessary, it shortens cooking time and results in more evenly textured beans. In addition, discarding one or more batches of soaking water leaches out hard-to-digest complex sugars that can cause flatulence, though those who eat beans regularly rarely have difficulties with flatulence as intestinal microbes adjust. There are several methods including overnight soaking, and the power soak method, which is to boil beans for three minutes, then set them aside for 2–4 hours, then drain and discard the water and proceed with cooking. Common beans take longer to cook than most pulses: cooking times vary from one to four hours but are substantially reduced with pressure cooking.

In Mexico, Central America and South America, the traditional spice to use with beans is epazote, which is also said to aid digestion. In East Asia a type of seaweed, Kombu, is added to beans as they cook for the same purpose. Salt, sugar, and acidic foods like tomatoes may harden uncooked beans resulting in seasoned beans at the expense of slightly longer cooking times.

Dry beans may also be bought pre-cooked and canned as refried beans, or whole with water, salt, and sometimes sugar.

Green beans

Green beans (snap beans)Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy                             - 129 kJ (31 kcal)
Carbohydrates                 -     7 g
- Sugars                           -     1.4 g
- Dietary fiber                  -      3.4 g
Fat                                  -      0.1 g
Protein                            -      1.8 g
Vitamin A equiv              -         . 35 μg (4%)
Vitamin C                       -     16 mg (19%)
Calcium                          -     37 mg (4%)

There are three commonly known types of green beans: string or runner beans, stringless or French beans (depending on whether the pod has a tough, fibrous "string" running along its length), and snap beans, which may be round or have a thin flat pod that requires less cooking time. Compared to the dry beans, they provide less starch and protein, and more vitamin A and vitamin C. The green beans are often steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles.

Shelling beans

Shell beans or shelling beans are beans removed from their pods before being cooked or dried. Common beans can be used as shell beans, but the term also refers to other species of beans whose pods are not typically eaten, such as lima beans, soybeans, peas, and fava beans. Fresh shell beans are nutritionally similar to dry beans but are prepared more like a vegetable, often being steamed, fried, or made into soups.

Popping beans

The nuña is an Andean subspecies, Phaseolus vulgaris subsp. nunas (formerly Phaseolus vulgaris (Nuñas Group)), with round multicolored seeds that resemble pigeon eggs. When cooked on high heat, the bean explodes, exposing the inner part, in the manner of popcorn and other puffed grains.


The toxic compound phytohaemagglutinin, a lectin, is present in many varieties of common bean but is especially concentrated in red kidney beans. Phytohaemagglutinin can be deactivated by cooking beans at 100 °C (212 °F) for ten minutes. However, the dry beans can initially be soaked for  at least 5 hours in water; the soaking water should be discarded.

The ten minutes at 100 °C (212 °F) is required to degrade the toxin, and is much shorter than the hours required to fully cook the beans themselves. However, lower cooking temperatures may have the paradoxical effect of potentiating the toxic effect of haemagglutinin. Beans cooked at 80 °C (176 °F) are reported to be up five times as toxic as raw beans.Outbreaks of poisoning have been associated with the use of slow cookers, the low cooking temperatures of which may be unable to degrade the toxin.

The primary symptoms of phytohaemagglutinin poisoning are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Onset is from 1 to 3 hours after consumption of improperly prepared beans, and symptoms typically resolve within a few hours. Consumption of as few as four or five raw kidney beans may be sufficient to trigger symptoms.

Beans are high in purines, which are metabolized to uric acid. Uric acid is not itself considered a toxin, but it may promote the development or exacerbation of gout. For this reason, persons with gout are often advised to limit their consumption of beans.Uric acid is also an important antioxidant in humans and, according to cohort studies, might be neuroprotective in cases of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.


Many well-known bean varieties belong to this species, and none of the lists below are in any way exhaustive. Both bush and running (pole) varieties exist. The colors and shapes of pods and seeds vary tremendously.

Anasazi Beans

Anasazi Bean is a registered trademark  referring to a bean sometimes called Aztec bean, cave bean, New Mexico Appaloosa. It is a mottled red and white bean native to the North American Southwest and was made commercially viable by the trademark owner.

Black beans

The small, shiny black turtle bean is especially popular in Latin American cuisine, though it can also be found in Cajun and Creole cuisines of south Louisiana. It is often called simply the black bean (frijol negro, zaragoza, poroto negro, caraota o habichuela negra in Spanish, feijão preto in Portuguese), although this can cause confusion with other black beans.

The black turtle bean has a dense, meaty texture, which makes it popular in vegetarian dishes, such as the Mexican-American black bean burrito. It is a very popular bean in various regions of Brazil, and is used in the national dish, feijoada. It is also a main ingredient of Moros y Cristianos in Cuba, is a must-have in the typical gallo pinto of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, is a fundamental part of pabellón criollo in Venezuela, and is served in almost all of Latin America, as well as many Hispanic enclaves in the United States. The black turtle bean is also popular for making into soups. In Cuba, black bean soup is a traditional dish and it is served with white rice.

It is also common to keep the boiled water of these beans (which acquires a black coloring) and consume it as a soup with other ingredients for seasoning (known as sopa negra, black soup), as a broth (caldo de frijol, bean broth) or to season or color other dishes (aforementioned gallo pinto, for example).

Black turtle beans have recently been reported to be an extremely good source of nutritional antioxidants.

Black turtle bean varieties include:

Black Magic

Cranberry and borlotti beans

Cranberry beans originated in Colombia as the cargamanto. The bean is a medium-large, tan or hazelnut-colored bean, splashed with red/black to magenta streaks. A new cranberry bean variety, Crimson, is light tan and speckled maroon, and is also resistant to viruses and has a high yield.

Crimson is a new cranberry dry bean

Borlotti beans, also known as Roman beans or romano beans (not to be confused with Italian flat beans, a green bean also called "romano bean"), are a variety of cranberry bean bred in Italy to have a thicker skin. It is very popular in Italian, Portuguese and Greek cuisine.

Pinto beans look the same as cranberry and borlotti beans, but differ in taste.

Pink beans

Pink beans are small, oval-shaped beans, pale pink in color, also known by the Spanish name habichuelas rosadas. The Santa Maria pinquito (spanglish = pink and small(ito)), is commercially grown on the mesas above Santa Maria, California, and is a necessary ingredient in Santa Maria Style BBQ.

Pinto or mottled beans

The pinto bean (Spanish: frijol pinto, literally "speckled bean") is named for its mottled skin (compare pinto horse), hence it is a type of mottled bean. It is the most common bean in the United States and northwestern Mexico, and is most often eaten whole in broth or mashed and refried. Either whole or mashed, it is a common filling for burritos. The young pods may also be harvested and cooked as green pinto beans.

This is the bean most commonly used for refried beans (fresh or canned) and in many dishes. Rice and pinto beans served with cornbread or corn tortillas are often a staple meal where meat is unavailable; the amino acids in this combination make it a complete protein source. This variety is often used in chili con carne, although the kidney bean, black bean, and many others may also be used in other locales .

In the southeastern part of the United States, pinto beans were once a staple of the people, especially during the winter months. Some churches in rural areas still sponsor "pinto bean suppers" for social gatherings and fund raisers.

The alubia pinta alavesa, or the "Alavese pinto bean", is a red variety of the pinto bean that originated in Añana, a town and municipality located in the province of Álava, in the Basque Country of northern Spain. In October, the Feria de la alubia pinta alavesa (Alavese pinto bean fair) is celebrated in Pobes.

Pinto bean varieties include:


Studies have indicated pinto beans can help reduce cholesterol levels.


Red kidney beans are prone to damage from slugs and snails so make sure that there is adequate protection against these pests as soon as the plants go outside.

When to harvest kidney beans

Allow the bean pods to dry as much as they can before the wet weather of autumn arrives. If they are not dry
enough before that time, pick them and allow them to dry off fully indoors. Once completely dry they can be stored or used for cooking.


Dried beans also contain toxins, so when cooking with dried beans they must be soaked overnight in cold water. Afterwards, rinse the beans thoroughly then boil them rapidly for 10 minutes before adding them with your other recipe ingredients.