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White Peppercorns

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Piper nigrum

Country of Origin: India

White peppercorns come from the same plant as black peppercorns. They are the fully ripe berries of the flowering vine Piper nigrum in the family Piperaceae. The vine produces fruits which become red or pink in color when the are fully ripe at about 5mm in diameter. When the berries are almost fully mature they are harvested and then soaked in water in order to remove the darker outer shell of the fruit. The water softens and decomposes the flesh of the berry, leaving only the white seed of the fruit. This is how white peppercorns are produced.

Pepper vines are native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. Pepper was introduced to Europe when it was brought from India' s Malabar coast to Italy and Rome through the Red Sea and the Nile River during the time of the Roman Empire. Pepper was extremely valuable and expensive that it was even used as a currency for trading. It can often been found in references as ''black gold''.

Nowadays the main producers of pepper are India, Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia and Vietnam which is the world' s largest producer and exporter, producing almost 40% of the world' s pepper.

White pepper has pungency but lacks in aroma as its outer shell, that holds the essential oils, is removed. It is less aromatic than black pepper but it has a sharp bite. Some food experts claim that white pepper tastes even hotter than black pepper. The fact is that their taste is completely different.

White pepper is a great seasoning to add in cream sauces, creamy soups and mashed potatoes to make it invisible, as the black pepper would stand out in these cases. It is better added at the end of each recipe as over-heating it makes its flavor bitter.