Organic White Pepper
More common in French cooking than American, white pepper is a floral spice with a nice heat that lingers. It comes from Piper nigrum, which you may recognize as the same plant that produces black peppercorns.
White pepper has an essential oil content of about 1% that is made up of mostly monoterpenes and has a fixed oil content of 2% to 9%.
"Fulful abyad" is what white pepper is called in Arabic, in Mandarin it is "bai hu chiao," "poivre blanc" is the name in French, "langer Pfeffer" is what German speakers would say "pipli pipal" in Hindi, "Indonaga koshou" in Japanese, "pimento branca" in Portuguese, "zelyony pjerets" in Russian, and "pimienta blanca" Spanish.
White peppercorns and black peppercorns share their history since white peppercorns are just black ones with their outer skin removed. Peppercorns were discovered and quickly rose in popularity to become a globally popular spice. Arab peppercorn traders wanted to keep their sources as secret as possible, so they created elaborate stories about mythological beasts guarding the peppercorns to keep the general public from trying to find the spice on their own. This helped keep prices high and interest even higher.
Peppercorns were used as currency and in some cases were even used to pay ransoms or dowries. They were used by the Roman army as a method of payment as well, and a soldier could expect to find an allowance of peppercorns with his weekly pay.
The explosive growth of this spice expanded over time as people began to realize that there were no mythical creatures guarding the peppercorns, and prices stabilized. During WWII, a large number of peppercorn producers in Indonesia lost their land to the destruction of the fighting. During this time other countries tried to grow peppercorns and eventually Vietnam was able to take over a large portion of the peppercorn market. Today, most peppercorns are in fact grown in Vietnam.
Surprisingly, Americans are only the second largest consumers of peppercorns in the world. First comes Tunisia, as they consume a quarter pound of this spice per capita, per year.
It is believed that peppercorns are indigenous to India. These plants are usually grown from cuttings, but can also be started from seeds. Vines take roughly three years to become fully mature and produce fruit. Vines can continue producing fruit for up to twenty years, sometimes longer, if they are properly cared for. Peppercorn plants are sensitive to the sunlight and enjoy soils that are rich in organic material and well-drained. Pepper plants love rain and are harvested between the months of February and May.
Black and white peppercorns are grown the same way but are left on the vine for different periods of time to achieve the level of ripeness required to get their colors. Peppercorns mature from a green fruit to a red fruit, with the green being easiest to harvest and the red being much harder to come by. White peppercorns are produced when green peppercorns are starting to turn yellowish or red. Once they've reached this stage of maturity, the peppercorns are removed from the vine and submerged in water or boiled to make the skin easier to peel away. This reveals the white seed from under the skin, or the white peppercorn. They are sundried after the skin, or the pericarp, has been removed.
Our Organic White Pepper comes from India.
- White peppercorns are lighter in color than black peppercorns and are described as having a flavor that lingers more than black peppercorns.
- Black peppercorns are a classic American spice. They are used on everything from sandwiches to grandma's macaroni salad.
- Green peppercorns are still unripe when picked, so they are quite tender. After they are picked they are either freeze dried or air dried.
- Red peppercorns are rather expensive because they are very rare. It is hard to get true red peppercorns because they are an attractive source of food for small animals. They are dried at extremely high temperatures.
- Pink peppercorns are berries from Schinus mole, or the Peruvian pepper tree. They are more closely related to cashews than they are to true peppercorns. In France, they are not even called "peppercorns" because only the plants of the Piper nigrum plant are allowed to be called "poivre" or pepper.
White pepper is excellent with mashed potatoes, in salads, and in cream-based sauces. It should be added towards the end of cooking or at the table because overheating makes white pepper taste bitter.
White pepper is an exceptionally popular spice in Asian cuisines. It is the source of heat in place of chiles for many different cuisines. It is a prominent ingredient in hot and sour soup.
You may find this spice in French cooking as well. French cooking is often thought of as very aesthetically beautiful, and one of the most beautiful parts of French cooking is the béchamel sauce. Some chefs prefer white pepper for this dish because of the more floral flavor it gives off paired with the lighter color, while others have no preference and may use a black pepper.
Whole peppercorns are more flavorful and aromatic than ground pepper, but when stored properly ground pepper can retain their flavor and scent for a longer period. Be sure to store them away from light and heat sources. As the ground pepper has more exposed surface area, it loses its oils to the air more easily. This evaporation is what causes the decrease in both taste and smell, so store your ground pepper in a cool, dry, dark place to ensure it has the longest life possible.
Organic White Pepper has a lingering heat that is described as hotter than black pepper, but with less complexity. White pepper is also described as floral tasting.
Black pepper works as a substitute for white pepper in some cases. If the recipe you are using calls for a small amount of pepper, like a teaspoon or so, you can use the two interchangeably. If it calls for a large amount, about a tablespoon or more, you are better off not substituting as the floral subtleties of white pepper are much easier to taste when you use a large amount of it.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*