When your dishes need a fiery kick, pepper is often the ingredient you reach for. Peppercorn, as it is also called, is the king of spices and is second only to salt in its universal use as a seasoning. It comes from the vine called Piper nigrum. Pepper berries are harvested at different stages of maturity, which accounts for the different types we find in the market.

Want to learn more about this heat-inducing kitchen must-have? Browse through the gallery for facts about pepper!

(First published as “Hottest of Them All” in the “In the Kitchen” section of Good Housekeeping Philippines’ April 2002 section. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo by via)

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