White Peppercorns, love them or hate them?

When polling my foodie friends regarding white peppercorns and white pepper in general I was taken aback by the strong feelings both good and bad regarding the spice.  This spice was either loved or hated. There were no in between responses. Any spice able to stir up this kind of emotion is a spice worth  doing a bit of research on and stocking on my shelf.

Native to Southern India, the piper nigrum plant produces green, red, black and white peppercorns. Different picking times and processing after harvest give each of the peppercorns their color.  White peppercorns are picked when almost ripe and  yellowish-red in color.  They are then soaked in running water for  up to a week to help release the outer skin and flesh.  The remaining seed is then rinsed and sun dried to produce the white peppercorn.

White peppercorns have a slightly musty smell and pungent flavor. The smell and pungent flavor are two of the reasons some hate them.  They are less aromatic and are less complex in flavor than black peppercorns but their flavor is sharper and noticeable.  This is because the skin and fruit flesh have been removed and we have no other distractions when experiencing the spice.  We are left with a simple, mild, pungent, clean spice with a good level of heat able to withstand high cooking temperatures. 

White peppercorns and white pepper have strong ties to Chinese, Korean and Thai cuisine and are three reasons to love them.  In french cuisine, white pepper is an aesthetic spice.  How can you cook a light sauce, fish or poultry and have black specks running through it?  So for the french cuisine purist, white peppercorns are a necessity for keeping the aesthetic. For those who love a bit of pizazz with there orange beef, hot and sour soup or Thai grilled chicken with sweet chile dipping sauce, white peppercorns are not an aesthetic but a necessity.

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"We love the new peppercorns.  My husband says they are great and so much better than the store bought!"

Sara

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Brad and Dolly from CA

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Renee from Arkansas

"I just ate a little cottage cheese with your special blended salt and some Malabar peppercorns. Thanks for making an old gent very happy today."

Wayne

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