Difference between white and black pepper
White pepper vs black pepper:
The world of gastronomy is adorned with a plethora of herbs, spices and many other ingredients which add color and flavor to dishes with the aim of setting the taste buds shivering. The word ‘pepper’ itself may bring back a memory that raises fumes and fire in the memory of many. Therefore, pepper belongs to the spice category which adds flavor and sting to the dishes thus adding a well deserved bite to food. However, ground pepper can be seen in two versions such as black and white pepper and apart from their obvious difference of colors, this article seeks to find out the other not so obvious factors which set them apart.
About white pepper
White pepper is produced from the seed of the flowering vine in the family of Piperaceae and is used as a flavoring and a seasoning. It is obtained by plucking the pepper berries when they are fully ripe which are then soaked in water for about a week during which the skin around the seed decomposes and sheds itself. This process is referred to as retting. After rubbing them together, what is left of the flesh is then removed and the seed is dried. Sometimes, the removing of the outer layer of the seed is done through chemical and biological methods as well. White pepper is commonly used in light colored dishes such as Chinese cooking or in dishes like salad, light-colored sauces or mashed potatoes.
About black pepper
Black pepper is obtained from the still unripe pepper drupes which are plucked when they are still green. They are then boiled in hot water for cleaning and drying purposes where the heat raptures the walls of the seed, speeding the work of browning enzymes which take place during drying. These seeds are then either sun or machine dried, during which the flesh around the seed shrinks and settles in wrinkled black folds upon the seed. This is then powdered or kept as whole in order to obtain black pepper which is used for cooking various dishes.
What is the difference between black pepper and white pepper?
The primary difference between the two lies in their colors. The white pepper, true to its name is white in color whereas the black pepper is black in color. Due to this reason, white pepper is used in light colored dishes where the usage of black pepper would be all too visible, giving a sort of a blackish tinge to the dish.
Both black and white pepper are obtained from the same flowering vine in the family of Piperaceae and yet, it is the time of which the berries are picked that determines the color of the pepper. In order to obtain white pepper, the pepper berries must be plucked when they are very ripe and the skin is either red or yellow. In order to prepare black pepper, unripe pepper drupes which are still green in color must be used.
The methods in which they are prepared differ a great deal as well. The white pepper berry once plucked is put through a process called retting where the pepper berries are soaked in water for about a week until the skin around it deteriorates. Thereby, in producing white pepper, the skin and the flesh of the pepper is completely removed. However in preparing black pepper, the pepper drupes are boiled in hot water briefly and then dried in the sun so that the skin and the flesh may shrink and fold around the seed in black folds. Thus, in producing black pepper, the skin is left on the seed itself.
Due to the presence of the skin and flesh of the pepper berry, the black pepper is said to be much stronger in flavor and aroma than the white pepper. Also because of the above reason, the black pepper is known to contain more essential oils and spirits which are used widely for medicinal and beauty products. White and black peppers are both known to contain medicinal values. Both are used as treatment for conditions such as stomach upsets, pain, scabies and etc. Black pepper is more distinctively used for the treatment of bronchitis whereas white pepper is used as a cure for malaria and cholera.
The two kinds of peppers differ in their prices as well. White pepper is notably much more expensive than black pepper. However, while white paper is popular in the East Asian community, black pepper reigns over the south east avian markets.