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Piper Guineense - Ashanti pepper Guinea pepper Mpuru Uziza

The Piper Guineense plant is a specie of "piper", a group of edible pepper plants & a close relative of black pepper. In the culinary world, products from the plant such as the fruits & leaves are used as spice and vegetable respectively and they are known mainly due to their pungent spicy flavor .

The Piper Guineense Fruit:::

The fruits are known by different names according to the region it's grown. In Nigeria, it's known as "Mpkuru Uziza", In Benin republic, it's known as "Benin pepper", In Ghana, it's known as "Ashanti pepper", in guinea, it's known as "Guinea pepper". At a glance, the drupes look like seeds but they are indeed fruits of the piper guineense plant. The fruits come in different colours such as orange, yellow or green and when left to dry, it turns dark brown. Drying the fruit intensifies it's flavor and aroma. Once pound in a mortar with a pestle or ground into fine powder, it can now be used in the preparation of certain local soups and stews. The dried fruits can be stored for up to a year. Most of the time, its added to pepper soups and given to women after child birth to cleanse the womb

The Piper Guineense Leaves:::

The leaves from the plant are also highly important in Nigerian cooking. In the local Nigerian market, it's known as hot leaves or uziza leaves. It's used in adding flavor and aroma to dishes such as Egusi soup, Ofe Nsala, Nkwobi/ Isi ewu e.t.c. Some people also use it as a vegetable in stews.

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