Pepper, White Whole
1 lb bag $10.40
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Whole White Pepper
Whether you prefer black or white pepper, it’s important to understand both the commonalities and differences in these fiery little berries. And it turns out whole white pepper has much more in common with black pepper than it has differences.
Both white peppercorn and black peppercorn originate from the same plant – the Piper nigrum. The woody Piperaceae vine is found in Southeast Asia and North Africa’s Madagascar. When harvesting black peppercorns, the berries are plucked a bit pre-maturely, then sun dried, turning a deep black.
White peppercorn, on the other hand, are the same berries, allowed to fully ripen on the vine into a red hue, before being harvested. Soon after, the berries are soaked in water to remove the outer skins so that the white inner skin is all that remains. Once the outer skins are removed, the inner white peppercorn is sun dried in much the same way.
White peppercorn is considered rawer and purer because of the nature of how it is cultivated. While both black pepper and white pepper produce a subtle spice, white peppercorn tends to be more potent, delivering a more complex, unique flavor than its darker counterpart. White peppercorns are often described as having a stronger bite.
While black pepper is more commonly used in the United States, white pepper is popular in specific dishes that tend to be spicier; think Indian, Mexican and Asian cuisines. Oftentimes, white pepper is substituted for black pepper for aesthetic purposes. For example, when creating lighter colored dishes (like mashed potatoes), white pepper is preferred to avoid dark specks in the dish.
Purchasing the whole peppercorn a smart play if you’re not going to go through it quickly, as the spice tends to lose potency more quickly when ground.