Both white and black pepper are used to add some spiciness to a wide range of dishes. Ground or whole, both peppers have a unique flavour that can enhance everything from sauces to meat. Both types of pepper come from the fruit of the Piper nigrum. While black peppercorns are taken before the fruit is ripe and then dried, white peppercorns are taken when the fruit is ripe and soaked for around ten days. The peppercorns begin to ferment and then the skins are removed.
The skin is where the piperine compound and volatile oils and compounds are found. Although white peppercorns can be hotter, many food experts agree that they lack the complex flavour and aroma found in black pepper.
So, which is best for cooking - white or black pepper? Ultimately, the choice will come down to your own personal preferences along with a few other factors…
Depending on the dish you are preparing, you may find that white pepper is better suited or you may find that whole or ground black peppercorns work better. White pepper is used in many Chinese and Asian meals. As this pepper can be sharper and more firey, it is best used in dishes that are made to be spicy. If using in milder dishes, use sparingly.
Black peppercorns have a deeper, richer flavour than white, working well in a variety of dishes. Grind whole black peppercorns over avocado toast, soup, stews, scrambled egg, omelettes, pasta or any other savoury dish. You can also add freshly ground peppercorns to salad dressings and sauces. If you substitute for white peppercorns, make sure that you use a smaller amount to avoid changing the flavour profile of your dish.
Ground black peppercorns leave a tell-tale trace of black flacks - even when finely ground. White pepper is often used in dishes that require a uniform colour or look, such as mashed potato, white sauces, white or cream-coloured soups and stews or any other dish that is light in colour.
At Spice World, we offer a selection of pepper options to suit every taste and preference. Whether you prefer your pepper ready ground or whole, you’re sure to find just what you need in our online store. Browse our full spice collection to shop ground pepper and whole black pepper online.
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