Salt and pepper can be found almost anywhere a meal will be had, but there’s another variety of pepper that’s been increasing in popularity lately - white pepper. You may come across recipes that call for white pepper and wonder what makes it different. Let’s take a look:
- Both black pepper and white pepper come from the same berries of the pepper plant. The difference is in how they’re prepared.
- Black pepper is picked right before ripening and then dried, causing the outer skins of the berry to turn black. It has a more complex flavor and is typically considered spicier than white pepper.
- White pepper is picked when ripe and then soaked to remove the outer skin. Its flavor is more subtle, sometimes described as being “earthy” or “floral” and most people agree that it’s not as hot as black pepper. This reduction in heat is mostly due to the removal of the pepperine compound that’s found in the skin that gives pepper its robust, spicy flavor.
- Recipes that call for white pepper usually do so to avoid discoloring the dish and for a more mild flavor that doesn’t overpower other ingredients. Certain dishes such as hot and sour soup and many Asian recipes traditionally call for white pepper.