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mology The word pepper derives from Old English pipor, Latin piper, and Sanskrit pippali for "long pepper". In the 16th century, people began using pepper to also mean the unrelated New World chili pepper (genus Capsicum). Varieties This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Six variants of peppercorns (two types of white and two types of black, based on region) Processed peppercorns come in a variety of colours, any one of which may be used in food preparation, especially common peppercorn sauce. Black pepper Black pepper is produced from the still-green, unripe drupe 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 pepper, speeding the work of b rowning enzymes during drying. The drupes dry in the sun or by machine for several days, during which the pepper skin around the seed shrinks and darkens into a thin, wrinkled black layer. Once dry, the spice is called black peppercorn. On some estates, the berries are separated from the stem by hand and then sun-dried without boiling. After the peppercorns are dried, pepper spirit and oil can be extracted from the berries by crushing them. Pepper spirit is used in many medicinal and beauty products. Pepper oil is also used as an ayurvedic massage oil and in certain beauty and herbal treatments. Ground black pepper and a plastic pepper shaker Roughly cracked black peppercorns, also known as mignonette or poivre mignonette Black peppercorns and white peppercorns Black and white peppercorns White pepper White pepper consists solely of the seed of the ripe fruit of the pepper plant, with the thin darker-coloured skin (flesh) of the fruit removed. This is usually accomplished by a proce ss known as retting, where fully ripe red pepper berries are soaked in water for about a week so the flesh of the peppercorn softens and decomposes; rubbing then removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Sometimes the outer layer is removed from the seed through other mechanical, chemical, or biological meth