We call Black pepper (Piper Nigrum its scientific name) : the grains harvested before full maturity. Then, it will darken and get covered with slightly prominent wrinkles when dry.
Black pepper yield : It varies greatly during the life of the plants : In intensive plantation, a 3 year old plant gives 1 to 2kg of fresh pepper. Between 4 to 7 years, the yield gradually increases from 3 to 10 kg. Then, decreases to 2 to 2.5 kg, when the plant achieves 15 year old: the age at which renewing the plantation becomes necessary.
Black Pepper Harvesting : Berries ripen after 10 months after flowering. In the opposite to White pepper, Black pepper should be harvested not yet fully ripe. Harvesting should be done by hand by picking yellow grains with some red. Harvest will require many rounds during the harvest season – each 10 to 14 days.
Harvest period for black pepper: Nosy-be – Sambirano: July to September if in the East Coast: May to August
Black pepper cleaning/sorting : Drying the whole yellow fruit gives black pepper. Dry the grains in a heap and in the shade for 48 hours. Then, seize by hand. Dry grains in full sun for 3 days to a week. Bring back to warehouse during the night or in case of rain.
On average 100 kg of fresh peppers give 35 Kg of dry marketable black pepper.