Pepper processor proves popular

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Efficient technology: The machine produces white pepper corns from pre-treated freshly harvested pepper
Efficient technology: The machine produces white pepper corns from pre-treated freshly harvested pepper

M.J. PRABU

The device meets the specific demand of pepper growers

Indian pepper, commonly known as Malabar pepper is considered to be the best in the world for its excellent aroma, flavour and pungency.

There is a good demand in the international market for Indian black pepper as it is considered superior in quality to pepper grown in other countries.

Outer covering

The creamy white dried inner corns obtained by removing the outer covering (pericarp) of ripe pepper berries, is called white pepper.

Although India is one of the world’s largest producers of black pepper, only a small amount of white pepper is actually produced for domestic and novelty uses. The world demand for white pepper at present is over 40,000 tonnes annually.

White pepper is preferred over black pepper in countries such as U.S., Canada and European countries for making sauce and cream soups as it has a mild flavour, attractive colour and good taste.

Higher value

Compared to black pepper, white pepper fetches nearly four times more value in the international market.

Therefore application of appropriate post harvest technology for making white pepper at producer’s level would certainly yield better returns to pepper growers in the country.

“Currently, Indian farmers are not in a position to process harvested pepper into white pepper with the available traditional methods.

“Considering this the Post Harvest Technology Centre at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, has developed a white pepper making machine to meet this specific demand of pepper growers in an effort to enable them to prepare white pepper at their farms,” said Prof. B. Ranganna, Professor & Research Engineer of the University.

This unit processes white pepper from freshly harvested mature pepper berries.

The machine consists of a mild steel drum with a shaft attached with a screw conveyor and four nylon brushes which is encircled by a double layered metallic sieve to provide sufficient abrasion and remove the outer pericarp of pepper berries, he explained.

Explaining the working of the machine, he said, pre-conditioned pepper berries are fed into the unit through a hopper and a water inlet (jet) has been provided to the drum encasing the brushes for smooth passage of pepper berries and for washing away the pulp separated from the berries.

The machine produces white pepper corns from pre-treated freshly harvested pepper.

Labour requirement

In addition, the unit has a hopper to feed pre-treated pepper corns and is powered by a 1.0 hp single phase electric motor. Two people are required to operate the machine.

Before processing the pepper berries into white pepper corns, freshly harvested mature pepper berries need to be soaked in concrete tanks or plastic drums for four days. Replacement of water is needed after two days of soaking.

Pre-soaking helps in softening the outer pulp and makes it easy for removal by abrasive action by the machine.

Cost of the unit

About 120-150 kg of pre-soaked pepper berries can be processed into white pepper in one hour. The unit is priced at Rs. 22,000.

Readers can contact Prof. B. Ranganna, Professor & Research Engineer, Post Harvest Technology Centre, University of Agricultural Sciences, Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK), Bangalore: 560 065, e-mail: rangannab@gmail.com, phone: 080-23330153 extn. 345.


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