National Geographic : 1916 Jan
Photograph and copyright by Underwood & Underwood THE HOME OF THE COLD-STORAGE EGG of the Orient. The Asiatics use it to flavor their chocolate. The fruit is a pod. This pod is dried and cured with great care in order to ob tain the desired flavor. The character istic odor is developed during the process of fermentation, which takes place while the pods are drying. The aroma and flavor are due to the vanillin that grad ually crystallizes from the pod. The well-cured pods, either whole or pow dered, may be found on the market as the vanilla bean or powder; but the more common form is the fluid extract, which is the active principle of the bean drawn out by the use of alcohol. The American people are the largest users of pepper in the world. In 1913 we bought 27,000,000 pounds of this commodity. It said that pepper was worth its weight in gold during the days of the Roman Empire, and that the first vessel which sailed around the Cape of Good Hope went to procure this favorite spice. The black variety is prepared from the dried unripe berry of a vine which was grown first in southern India, the East Indies, Siam, and China, and in the later ages in the West Indies. For a long time the Dutch nation controlled the trade and tried to confine pepper cul tivation to Dutch possessions. White pepper is generally supposed to be produced from a different spice, but it is, in reality, the same fruit prepared by a different method. It is generally considered better, but, as a matter of fact, it has not as good a flavor as the black variety and is more expensive, the only advantage being in the matter of appear-. ance. CINNAMON AND CLOVE GROWING Cinnamon is the inner bark of young shoots of a certain species of cinnamon tree. The shoots are cut carefully from the tree, and the bark is split longitudi nally and removed. It is then piled in heaps and allowed to ferment. The bark shrinks on drying, and is then put into bundles ready for exportation.