Introduction

Hundreds of years ago, traders gave black pepper the name 'king of spices'.

It was like 'black gold,' it was one of the very first items to traded between India and Europe.

It became such an important trading commodity that many expeditions were speculativly set up and funded in hopes of transporting this black gold back to Europe.

Some recipes list black pepper, and others specify you should use white pepper.

Pepper along with salt is one of the most widely consumed spices in the world and a key ingredient in all cuisines, but not all peppers are the same.

When we take a look at white pepper vs. black pepper, one isn't better than the other: like most ingredients it depends on the flavour profile of the dish, the amount of pepper you're using, and the final appearance you want to achieve.

White and black peppercorns are both the small dried berries from the pepper plant (Piper nigrum)

The difference between white pepper and black pepper is when they are harvested and how they are processed.

These two processes result in peppercorns that not only look different but also have distinct flavour profiles.

What is white pepper how is it different from black pepper?

To make black pepper the berries are harvested before they are ripe. These unripe green berries are cooked then dried, which makes the skin turn black and wrinkly.

White pepper

Made from fully ripened berries, that are soaked and fermented in water, removing the outer skin, the inner seed is dried.

Ground black pepper is often described as hot, floral, and pungent.

Chemicals that are stripped when the outter skin is removed make white pepper less pungent at the same time, allowing the berries to fully ripen and ferment gives white pepper a more complex, earthy flavour.

White and black pepper can be purchased in two forms: whole peppercorns or ground. Buying whole peppercorns and grinding them yourself will give you the best flavour, grind them just before use. pre-ground pepper is quick and easy to measure, it begins to lose its flavour after a few months. Whole peppercorns, can hold their flavour for more than a year.

When to use white pepper

White pepper is a key ingredient in Chinese and Thai dishes cuisine and more common than black pepper. used in soups, sauces, stir-fries, to add flavour. White pepper should used in light-coloured dishes to avoid dark speckles, too. In classic French cooking, for example, white pepper is used to season béchamel sauce, vichyssoise soup and veloutés without affecting their appearance. Swedish meatballs use white pepper for the same reason. If stored in a cool, dry place, pepper should last two even three years.

When to use black pepper

Ground black pepper or whole black peppercorns in a jar with a grinder are common in grocery stores, markets, and online.

Use black pepper as an ingredient in recipes to add flavour and spice to meats, fish, vegetables, salad dressings, soups, stir-fries, pasta, and more.

You can also add a grind of black pepper to scrambled eggs, avocado toast, fruit, and dipping sauces for a spicy kick.

Try making a spice marinade, 60 ml of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt a pinch your favourite seasonings. Brush over fish, meat, or vegetables before and during cooking.

Stored in a cool, dry place, black pepper should last two to three years.

Can you substitute black pepper for white pepper?

In small amounts yes, you can often swap without a noticeable difference. But for recipes that rely heavily on one or the other, stick with the type that's specified in the recipe, if you're making a light-coloured dish that calls for white pepper for aesthetic reasons, keep in mind that substituting black pepper will change the final look.

Pink Peppercorns

Pink peppercorns aren't *actually* a peppercorn, they are dried, berries from a tree. Brazilian pepper trees and Peruvian pepper trees, (Schinus molle).

Their flavour is similar to that of a black peppercorns, not as strong, much brighter, slightly sweet and fruitier making them a great addition to butter-based sauces, salads, seafoods, dressings, and poultry dishes.

Grinding pink peppercorns

To get the best from pepper we need to grind them but there is a problem with pink peppercorns, We often see pink peppercorns in a mix with green, black and white peppercorns because they are too soft to be ground by themselves in a pepper mill.  If you're working exclusively with pink peppercorns, sprinkle them whole or lightly crush them before adding them to dishes. You can also lightly toast them first to bring out a deeper, nuttier flavour.

Are pink peppercorns good for you?

Not only is it a powerful antioxidant, it has antibacterial and antiviral benefits as well. Dietary Fibre: Pink peppercorns are rich in dietary fibre.

Are pink peppercorns toxic?    

The fruit and leaves of Peruvian pepper are potentially poisonous to horses’ poultry, pigs and possibly calves. Records also exist of young children who have experienced vomiting and diarrhoea after eating the fruit. Presently both species of pink peppercorn lack “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status with the FDA.

Are pepper tree roots invasive?

Pepper trees are evergreen trees that grow 25 to 40 feet tall. They have aggressive roots and drop tree litter, so can be considered an invasive weed.

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