Although we sometimes think that black pepper vs white pepper is opposite to each other, the truth is that both spices come from the same tree.
So, what is the difference between black pepper vs white pepper? The main difference between the two is in their processing. however, by changing the preparation, there are some subtle and not-so-subtle changes in color, consistency, and of course, flavor.
Now that you know a little more about the ingredient that makes your meals tastier and more natural, we will discuss the subject “Black Pepper Vs White Pepper”, in detail, and the most common uses for each one.
Where do the Peppers come from?
What we think of as pepper originally comes from peppercorns, which are the berries of a pepper plant called piper nigrum. This pepper plant is very different from the chili peppers that we are used to growing in our gardens or that we buy at the local supermarket.
Peppercorns grow on vines native to India and Southeast Asia. Like many fruits and vegetables, they start green, but as they ripen, they turn a deep red color.
Depending on when they are harvested and how they are dried, the end product can be black pepper vs white pepper.
Black Pepper Vs White Pepper: How they are made?
To make the ground pepper that we are used to buying, the berries are first harvested and dried. If the berry is picked while still green, it is more likely to be pickled, as they do not dry very well.
Most red or pink peppercorns are not peppercorns, but the berries of a different type of pepper tree, native to Brazil.
Black pepper is made from the drying of nearly ripe berries. The process of drying them usually involves quickly boiling them first, then laying them out in the sun to dry.
Some commercial facilities will kiln dry them, although the sun in India and Southeast Asia is certainly hot enough to get the job done quickly. As they dry, their skin darkens, becoming almost completely black.
White pepper is also made from almost ripe berries, but before they dry, the skin is removed, so they lose all their color.
The skin of ripe berries is quite fragile, so simply submerging them under a steady stream of water will eventually rip the skin off completely.
Without a doubt, black pepper is the best known and used around the world. In comparison to black pepper vs white pepper, the black one is a major ingredient of European cuisine.
After harvesting and before they ripen, the berries are cooked in water to accelerate the darkening process that will occur later during drying in the sun. This aspect also increases the spiciness of black pepper.
The main advantage that stands out in the title comparison, black pepper vs white pepper, is the fact that the greater amount we add black pepper, the lower becomes the necessity of salt in our meals. This happens due to its great contribution to flavor. Everything is richer with a touch of pepper.
In the aroma comparison of black pepper vs white pepper, the black one is stronger when it comes to its aroma, and it is also quite spicy.
For a simple spice that’s often taken for granted, it is surprisingly healthy for you. It is full of antioxidants and many different vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.
Pepper has been used in ancient and traditional healing practices to improve a variety of conditions, including reducing inflammation, improving digestion, and lowering blood pressure.
The anti-inflammatory properties alone help reduce the risk or experience of nearly every known chronic disease, from asthma to cancer.
If you’ve heard about the many benefits of turmeric, you may also know that for your body to properly absorb the crucial component, curcumin, you need help.
Piperine and capsaicin are two very effective compounds to help increase the absorption rate, and pepper has almost 10% piperine. It also appears to help absorb other nutrients, such as calcium and selenium, among others. Or, in other words, piperine increases the bioavailability of nutrients in the human body. This is the very reason you should add pepper to your diet. This would increase the absorption of essential nutrients into your body and you will feel satiety for a longer period.
Similarly, the use of black pepper, all because of its incredible benefits of bioavailability, makes it an important ingredient in Chinese food therapy and Indian Ayurvedic therapy.
Uses of Black Pepper
As a part of your Meal
In comparison to black pepper vs white pepper, you are used to adding black pepper to most of your dinners and possibly even your lunches. It adds a nice touch of spiciness and earthy flavor to just about any savory meal and we’re so used to it that something seems to be missing without it. Nevertheless, there are some fewer common uses for pepper that may surprise you.
As a part of your healthy Snack
One interesting suggestion is adding pepper to a bowl of cut fruits. The pepper serves to balance any tartness that may be in your fruit, bringing out its natural sweetness. If you add a little balsamic vinegar to the mix, you have a winner. This is a great fusion of tastes and the addition of pepper to your fruit bowl would ensure a better bioavailability of nutrients from the fruits.
This technique can be used on any fruit that has a sweet and sour combination and when you want to focus on the sweet side of the equation.
There are even non-food uses for pepper. For example, ants and other pests will go to great lengths to avoid you, so if it’s “that time of year,” just sprinkle some pepper their way and they’ll be more likely to stay outdoors and off your counters.
Side Effects of Black Pepper
If you’ve ever accidentally knocked over a container of finely ground pepper and then inhaled deeply, you know that one of pepper’s side effects is that it causes sneezing.
Some people are much more sensitive to pepper and will sneeze even if it is added to a dish and is served to them, while others need a face full of spices to get bothered.
But in general, there are no severe side effects of both, even when we compare black pepper vs white pepper.
As we already mentioned, it comes from the same tree as black pepper. The difference between black pepper vs white pepper is that the fruit of the white one is allowed to mature until it takes on a reddish color, which is then removed by removing the outer cuticle after soaking it in water so that we see it as white.
Stating the aroma comparison between black pepper and white pepper, the white pepper is a little less spicy and aromatic than the black counterpart. The reason why it is chosen in gastronomy is that it enhances the flavor of food without changing its color, unlike the black pepper.
Benefits of White Pepper
The health and nutritional benefits of peppers are the same when we try to draw the comparison between black pepper vs white pepper. Inherently, they are the same plant but processed differently. However, when it comes to black pepper vs white pepper, there are some benefits to choosing white pepper for certain recipes.
White pepper is generally thought to be slightly sharp in taste than black pepper, although less complex in its flavor profile. In other words, all you get is heat with very little flavor.
There are certain compounds in the skin of the peppercorns that add depth of flavor to the black pepper that is lost in the white. Therefore, the white counterpart is less fruity and floral when we compare black pepper vs white pepper.
White pepper is best used in recipes that need a bit of heat while preserving the spicy flavor. It is also great when you don’t want little black specks of pepper to ruin your beautiful presentation, especially for creamy sauces of light garlic and oil stir-fry, for example.
It also works perfectly for salt and pepper mixes in a shaker or grinder, without the contrast of black and white.
White Pepper substitute
If you’re simply looking to spice up a dish, you can substitute white for black pepper in almost any recipe, though you may need to add a bit more to get the same level of spiciness.
Using black pepper as a substitute can be a bit tricky when making light-colored or creamy sauces, as the pepper will be more visually noticeable.
Depending on the dish, you can also try adding some ground cayenne pepper. The powder will mix into a sauce less conspicuously, but you’ll need much less of it to achieve the same amount of heat. Try substituting ½ teaspoon of white pepper for 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Storage: Black Pepper Vs White Pepper
An additional thing to keep in mind when it comes to white pepper is that it will spoil more quickly than black pepper. If you’re like me, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that pepper can even go rancid; was not a thought that had crossed my mind before researching this article.
But it is true, black pepper will last 2-3 years ground and up to 6 years as a whole peppercorn.
However, ground white pepper should be used within 1 year, and if stored well in an airtight container out of direct light, whole peppercorns will last 2-3 years. Nevertheless, for a better taste, cooks generally get a fresh supply of white pepper every 6 months to ensure freshness.
Black Pepper Vs White Pepper: Which is more expensive?
White pepper is often more expensive than black pepper, simply because it takes more steps to prepare it for consumption. As with almost everything in life, the more difficult it is to create, the higher the price.
Black Pepper Vs White Pepper: Which is more common?
At some point, the salt and pepper became inextricably linked, to the point where it now seems almost unnatural to add one without the other. While salt makes sense because it enhances our ability to pick up unique flavors from food, pepper adds a specific heat and spice of its own. Therefore, because of its greater aromatic and earthy flavor, black pepper is used more than white one.
How Cayenne Peppers are different from Black and White Peppers?
Cayenne pepper is quite different from white or black pepper and is not obtained from peppercorns, but from a pepper plant, similar to bell peppers or jalapeños, although much hotter.
You can find it fresh, in the form of small hot red peppers, but it is most commonly used in its powdered or flaked form. It adds heat to almost any dish, although used sparingly, it’s not potent enough to make you sweat and swear you don’t want peppers for life.
Whole Grain or Ground Peppers?
As we know, in the market we can find grain or ground pepper, and obviously, there are differences when using each type.
For conservation issues, ground pepper is recommended in cases where you plan to use it immediately, or in a very short period. If this is not the case, what will happen after a while is that the pepper, even if it is perfectly stored, will lose aroma and flavor.
So, in cases where you buy pepper for long-term use, peppercorns or whole-grain peppers are the best. That way, you’ll be able to use only what you need and grind it when you need it.
One of the characteristics that make pepper one of everyone’s favorite spices is that it can be used at any time during cooking, without losing flavor or aroma.
Where to use White Pepper as a substitute for Black Pepper?
In sauces such as bechamel, homemade mayonnaise, creams, and poultry.
Why does Pepper make you sneeze?
It is caused by an alkaloid called piperine which irritates the tiny hairs in the nose if inhaled. It is not particularly dangerous, although it can be annoying.
After reading the article, you might have concluded Black pepper vs white pepper. By now, you would have an idea that if you need greater flavor, then black pepper should be your choice. On the other hand, if you need more hotness, or if you want to avoid the blackness of the pepper, then a white one should be the choice. Nutritionally, both are nearly the same.
Hi, I am Humayun, I hold MS and PhD degrees in Chemical Sciences from Germany. Currently I am working as faculty at the Department of Chemistry, Food Science and Technology, at a Public Sector University. I have immense interest in the fields of Food Science and Sports Nutrition.