Do you know the Differences Between White Pepper and Black Pepper?

Do you use pepper in your foods? Are you conflicted between using white pepper vs black pepper? While both varieties come from the Piper nigrum plant, when and how the berries are picked and processed gives them different colors, spice, flavors and these are the elements that affect their usage. You also get health benefits from using white pepper or black pepper.

What are the Differences?

Apart from the obvious color disparity, there are other differences between the two kinds of peppers such as:

  • Picking – black peppercorns are picked when they are still not ripe, while for white pepper, the berries are picked when they are fully ripe.
  • Processing – black peppercorns are dried and the drying makes them black. For white peppers the berries are soaked in water for up to 10 days, causing fermentation, and then the outer skin is removed.
  • Size – Apart from the color, there is a difference in size. Since white pepper is actually stripped of its outer covering, it is smaller and rounder than black pepper. Whole black peppercorns have a mottled appearance, whereas whole white pepper is smoother.
  • Heat – white pepper is hotter than black pepper, so for the same spice factor, you need to use less white pepper when compared to its black counterpart. If you prefer less heat, then use black pepper.
  • Shelf-life – organic black pepper does not expire fast and lasts a long time. It may be viable for a year. On the other hand, white pepper turns stale faster.
  • Flavor – black pepper has a strong, earthy, and bold, unmistakable flavor. White pepper has some floral notes and is aromatic.
  • Usage – organic black pepper is widely used in the U.S., in Europe, in the Indian subcontinent, and in many other countries. White pepper is favored in Chinese, Vietnamese, Swedish, Portuguese, and Thai cuisines.

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