Pepper is popular nearly all over the world, making it always in high demand. It has been used more than 3,000 years ago to pay off taxes and levies in the fifth century due to its value. When pepper was most valuable, this spice was as valuable as gold.
In this article, we will discuss pepper spice, especially white pepper vs black pepper.
A Glimpse About Pepper
From ancient times to the Middle Ages, pepper has been loved by many in Asia and Europe. It was and is valuable trading good. In fact, one-fifth of the spice trade in the world today is pepper.
This spice has a distinct flavor: a combination of pungent, woody, earthy, hot, and brash taste and smell. Adding pepper to your food will make the taste bolder.
Most people know two types of pepper, white and black. However, pepper comes in various colors, grades, and qualities aside from the black and white pepper. They are black, white, green, and other types of peppers.
White Pepper vs Black Pepper
Although both are used to add a distinct flavor to your cooking, black and white pepper are not the same. Each of them has unique and distinct characteristics, so you will need to learn about both to understand which type of pepper is perfect for your cooking.
Here is a glimpse of an explanation about white pepper vs black pepper.
White pepper is small with a smooth texture. It was made by picking up ripe peppercorns and then put under water or soaking them until the skin dissolves. This process left a small white-gray colored pepper that looked tinier than the black one.
Meanwhile, white pepper comes with a delicate, pungent, fruity, and flowery spiciness. Due to its making process, you will also taste a trace of fermentation from this type of pepper. Its distinct taste from black pepper is undoubtedly not as rich or complex as black peppers.
White pepper is usually used on white or light-colored dishes and sauces. The reason is that this type of pepper will not leave black flecks as black pepper does. It also has a more complex yet subtle flavor than the black pepper.
In the United States, white pepper is not very popular. Therefore, people may wonder what is white pepper used for or where to buy white pepper. However, this type of pepper is popular in Europe and parts of Asia. White pepper is usually added in Chinese soups or light-colored dishes such as vichyssoise. You will be able to easily find white pepper in the Asian food market or spice section of your local supermarket.
Another common question is why is white pepper so expensive. The reason is that the process of making white pepper is longer and produced in lower quantities than black pepper.
There is plenty of white pepper variation each with different qualities. For instance, Malaysia‘s Sarawak white pepper has a potent, nice heat, and stronger flavor than other variations. Meanwhile, Muntok white pepper from Indonesia has a milder flavor than Sarawak. However, it still has good quality and is generally cheaper.
The best white pepper is Penja which grows and is produced in Cameroon. It has a more robust flavor with an intense fragrance. However, it is hard to find and also can be very expensive. This type of pepper has a protected geographical indication status to protect them from counterfeiters.
Black pepper has a very different appearance than the white one other than its color. It is small, black, or brown, and has a wrinkly appearance. This appearance appears due to its process that includes drying the ripe pepper berries under the sun. Once it dried, the peppercorns are sifted to sort them according to their size. The larger size has a better and more pungent flavor; that is why the largest ones are considered of the highest grade.
Just like white pepper, there are also plenty of black pepper varieties. The largest peppercorns varieties are Tellicherry which accounts for 10 percent of pepper crops. Of these varieties, the Tellicerry Extra Bold and Tellicherry Special Bold are considered the best varieties. These black peppers have brash and punchy flavors.
Usage of White Pepper and Black Pepper
White and black pepper have a strong and distinct flavor with specific differences. Therefore, their use in food will also add a different twist to your dishes. Here is how white pepper vs black pepper is used in various dishes.
White pepper use
Due to its light color, this type of pepper is more common in light-colored dishes such as pies, casseroles, mayonnaise, cream-based soups, white sauces, and so on. Because it has a more intense flavor, you may need to use less white pepper than when you use black pepper.
Several herbs and spices will go well with white pepper. Some of them include paprika, parsley, thyme, garlic, and cumin.
Black pepper use
Due to its darker color, black pepper is commonly used in Western cuisine. It is common to find them alongside table salt. You can easily add black pepper to any savory dishes to add more punch to your cooking.
When cooked, the flavor of black pepper will mellow down. Therefore, you may want to provide a pepper shaker on your dinner table to ensure you add enough of them to your dishes.
Although black pepper is common in the United States, this spice is more prevalent in Swedish, French, Vietnamese, and Chinese cooking. Pastry chefs in fine dining restaurants sometimes also add black pepper to their dessert to add a delicious surprise to their otherwise sweet treats. Some of them include fudge brownies, chocolate truffles, and chocolate layer cake. There is plenty of pepper spice. However, black and white are the most popular and commonly used. Before using either of them, make sure you know the difference between white pepper and black pepper so that you can use one that is the most suitable for your dishes and your taste.