White Peppercorns – Steenbergs
This is a 55g jar of whole organic white peppercorns have a rich, sophisticated aroma and are popular in light coloured sauces and soups. Organic white peppercorns are allowed to ripen more fully than black peppercorns giving a rich, winey and somewhat hot flavour. White pepper is fully ripe pepper, only without the flesh as black pepper. So really it’s the pepper core. This organic white peppercorn is perfect for your pepper mill.
Pepper grows in warm moist sunny climates, usually within about 15° of the equator. In most countries pepper is grown as a commodity to be sold at a prefixed price per tonne and is picked as soon as the berries are formed on the vine. When quality brings no extra cash and margins are preciously slim farmers can’t take any chances. The longer the peppercorns are left on the vine the greater the risk that they will be eaten by birds or that the whole crop would be lost in a devastating storm.
However in a few places like India and Sri Lanka, pepper is viewed as more than just a commodity. There it is part of the cultural heritage of the people and extra time and effort are taken to nurture the plants to produce the bold, rich flavours that have made pepper a globally favourite spices for millennia.
White peppercorns start out the same as black pepper but they are allowed to ripen more fully on the vine until the entire spike has changed to an yellow/red colour. Then they are picked.
Then the hard work begins that again differentiates black and white peppercorns. These more mature pepper berries are packed into sacks and soaked in cool flowing water for one to two weeks to loosen the outer husk (or the “pericarp”). This process is done either by soaking in water until the husk loosens (the process of “retting”) or they are held under a constantly flowing stream of spring water, yielding a whiter colour, and an extra clean product. The pericarp is then removed by trampling or rubbing off the outer skin to reveal the creamy coloured or greyish-white core (process of “decortication”). These white peppercorns are then washed again to ensure that they are fully clean and then left out to dry in the sun or mechanically dried in kilns. Without the outer shell white peppercorns have a traditional rich, winey and somewhat hot flavour that is great used in soup, on grilled meat or poultry, in light-coloured dishes.
White peppercorns are used in fine stocks and for flavouring sauces especially where you do not want small pieces of black pepper floating in virginal white sauces. White peppercorns are great in bechamel sauce, creamy soups, quiches and cheese sauces or you can mix them with black peppercorns for a slightly hotter pepper taste for your pepper mill.