In the world, pepper is often immediately referred to as black, white, and red. But few know that peppers require a plant called pepper. Pepper trees originate from southwestern India, and are known as one of the oldest and most prestigious peppers in the world.

Pepper trees are now commonly introduced and cultivated in parts of Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam… and parts of Africa, the Americas such as Madagascar and Brazil… for the cultivation of kava trees, and they require moist, tropical, and dilute, organic soil. The cultivation of kava requires care and patience. The seeds are usually planted in POTS and then transferred to the soil after the plant has grown sufficiently large. A pepper plant needs a regular supply of water and sufficient nutrients to thrive.

Morphological features of pepper trees

Stems: The fodder is a soft herbaceous plant, which is stool in a great deal of heat, and grows at a relatively rapid rate, while the young are pale red to grey-brown, and the old is a dark brown.

Root: There are four types of roots: pile roots, roots, secondary roots, and roots.

  • Pile roots: found only in seed seeds, the average pillared root of a plant can grow up to 2m deep.
  • Female roots: present in hoM pepper, each hoM usually has between 3-6 female roots. After a year of planting, the female root of the hoM can be ingested up to two meters deep.
  • Secondary root: It is a root that grows in clusters, concentrated at depths of 15-40 cm, which is responsible for drawing water and nourishing plants.
  • Roots: An airy root, growing from its burning trunks and branches, sticks on the pole and helps the tree to thrive. Limited access to water and nutrition.

Branches: are divided into 3 types: shoot branches, sucker branches, and fruit branches.

  • Shoot branches: are branches that grow from the leaf axils on pepper plants under 1-year-old and grow parallel to the main stem.
  • Sucker branches: branches that grow from the base of the plant near the ground, creeping on the ground, elongated, and small.
  • Fruit branches: are branches bearing fruit, growing from the top of the stem of pepper plants over 1 year old, with short branches and no roots.

Leaves: are simple leaves, spaced apart, heart-shaped, with an average size of 10 – 20cm in length and 5 – 10cm in width. The upper surface of the leaf is shiny dark green, while the underside is lighter green.

Flowers and fruit:

  • Pepper flowers are small, arranged in clusters, hanging loosely on fruit branches. Each cluster measures from 7 – 10cm, with about 20 – 60 flowers per cluster.
  • The fruit belongs to the drupe type, without a calyx, small, with a diameter ranging from 4 – 8mm. The fruit is green, turning red when ripe.

The processing process

– Step 1: Cleaning

  • The raw peppercorns are fed into an underground loading hopper and conveyed to a debris sieve via a bucket conveyor.
  • The debris sieve operates based on principles of aerodynamics, weight separation, and volume separation. Therefore, it can separate approximately 90% of the impurities present in the peppercorns, including impurities smaller than the peppercorns, impurities larger than the peppercorns, and impurities lighter than the peppercorns (including dust).

Step 2: Size Classification

After being separated from impurities, the peppercorns are conveyed by a bucket conveyor to a rotating sieve classifier. The rotating sieve classifier consists of 3 mesh screens with sizes: 4.5mm, 4.9mm, and 5.5mm. The peppercorns are classified into 4 product lines:

  • Peppercorns with sizes ranging from F2.5mm – F4.5mm
  • Peppercorns with sizes ranging from F4.5mm – F4.9mm
  • Peppercorns with sizes ranging from F4.9mm – F5.5mm
  • And peppercorns larger than F5.5mm

– Step 3: Stone Removal

  • Before entering the stone removal machine, the peppercorns still contain stones of the same size as the peppercorns.
  • The stone removal machine operates based on the differing density principle of peppercorns of the same size. Peppercorns with lower density are lifted by an air stream to create a parallel flow with the mesh screen and flow out. Meanwhile, heavier stones will fall down and collide with the edges of the screen groove, bouncing back to escape.

– Step 4: Pneumatic Classification

  • After leaving the stone removal machine, the peppercorns still contain firm and spongy peppercorns that were not separated due to the same size.
  • The peppercorns are fed into a pneumatic classification device called a Catador. Within this device, there is an upward airflow from below. Consequently, the spongy and light peppercorns are lifted and discharged, while the firm ones remain suspended and are separated along a different path.
  • The airflow in the Catador is adjusted according to the quality of the peppercorns.

– Step 5: Spiral Shape Classification

  • After the cleaning process, size classification, stone removal, and pneumatic classification, the peppercorns still vary in shape .They can be distorted, round, or mixed with pepper spikes.
  • The spiral shape classification machine is constructed with spiral partitions around a vertical axis. The opening of deformed and round peppercorns is loaded into the upper mouth of the classification machine.
  • As the peppercorns flow down along the spiral under the influence of gravity, the round peppercorns rotate, increasing their acceleration until they reach a point where they rotate along the inclined partition on the outer edge and are separated, while the deformed peppercorns experience higher frictional forces on the spiral trough due to the slower flow velocity compared to the round peppercorns. Therefore, the deformed peppercorns flow closer to the axis of the spiral machine and are discharged.

– Step 6: Washing and Microbial Treatment with Steam

  • To eliminate harmful microorganisms, especially Salmonella bacteria, steam is used at a pressure of 2 – 3 kg/cm2 and a temperature ranging from 120°C – 140°C to be applied as a spray onto the peppercorns for the shortest duration possible (around 20 – 40 seconds).
  • During the absorption of hot steam, the peppercorns are conveyed through a water extraction drum before proceeding to the drying system.

– Step 7: Drying

  • The drying system employs a two-stage continuous process consisting of two drying tower levels: the feeding level and the drying level. The peppercorn drying capacity is adjusted according to the moisture content of the raw material to achieve high efficiency through the left-handed discharge screw system.
  • To ensure the aroma of the peppercorns, the heating system utilizes a gas burner with automatic gas spray nozzles to guarantee occupational safety and explosion prevention.

– Step 8: Cooling after Drying and Classification

  • After drying, the peppercorns are transferred to a cooling bin, and once again, they pass through a Catador to separate impurities such as dust and peppercorn husks generated during the drying process. These impurities are separated from the peppercorns by passing through a Catador. (second pass).

– Step 9: Automatic Weighing

  • The finished peppercorns are either placed in storage bins or conveyed to an automatic weighing system for quantitative measurement as needed.
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