White pepper is a seasoning and spice obtained from the dried and ripe seeds of the fruit of the Piper nigrum. Piper nigrum, or the pepper plant, is a perennial flowering vine of the Piperaceae family. The spice comprises only the seed and not its dark-colored and thin flesh or skin.
Applications of White Pepper as a Spice
Because white pepper is composed of entirely different materials than black pepper, it has an overall distinct and separate flavor. It has and provides a mild and pleasant floral aroma and a delicate and earthy spiciness or heat. These attributes make it perfect for delicate cuisines that require a slight effect of peppery hotness.
Primarily, white pepper gets used in those dishes where the dark color of black pepper would visibly stand out. Thus, it finds application in salads, clam chowder, mashed potatoes, and light-colored sauces, and cream soups. Its common uses include dishes originating from Thailand, China, Portugal, etc. It also gets added to Vietnamese pork gastronomy and soups and in various Swedish food preparations.
White pepper can work as a condiment and flavor and aroma enhancer when sprinkled over diverse cheese and egg dishes. It complements the final taste when added to cold cuts, balsamic tomatoes, salads, and sandwiches. It also gets used as a marinating agent in meat and fish cuisine.
The spice finds application in light-colored European dishes such as mayonnaise, pies, and casseroles. It also works in instant noodles and soups. White pepper proffers an ideal flavor and aroma in Indian curries and gravies of lighter hues.
Benefits of White Pepper
White pepper comes with multiple health benefits that work towards creating a robust body. Some of these include the following:
- Appetite: White pepper can revitalize hunger in individuals who have seemingly lost it. It helps clear out the stomach effectively and prevents bloating and associated issues. Thus, it aids in treating constipation by supporting the peristaltic movement in the large intestine and accelerating metabolic activities.
- Antibacterial Properties: White pepper spice has strong antibacterial properties. Thus, it can prevent inflammations and help acquire and maintain proper oral health and hygiene. It gets rid of bad breath, tooth decay, and gum problems. It promotes vigorous gout and enhances the functioning and strength of the body’s immune system.
- Antioxidant Properties: White pepper is rich in antioxidants that remove harmful toxic wastes. It promotes blood circulation within the body, allowing for the sustenance of a healthy heart. It can also get owed to the excessive sweating that the spice generates that aids in removing excess fluids and toxic wastes. Thus, it prevents various kinds of cardiovascular ailments. It can even cure cancer by deterring the formation of free radicals in the body.
- Weight Loss: The presence of capsaicin in white pepper helps burn fat and carbohydrates and thus, aids in weight reduction. It is for this very reason that some weight-loss medications have white pepper spice as an ingredient and component.
- Pain: White pepper has a stimulating effect on the cranial nerves and the brain that helps lower the pain felt by an individual by a specific degree. It can cure minor headaches and remove the discomfort from other parts of the body like teeth and gums.
- Cold and Cough: The heat generated from the consumption of the spicy white pepper helps in clearing the nasal passage. Hence, it helps in relieving congestion of the nose and throat. It can work as an antibiotic to fight the infections and issues of the nasal tract, providing alleviation from cough and cold.
- Bones: White pepper has high quantities of minerals like copper, manganese, and magnesium. They contribute to boosting and improving the strength and calcium amount in the bones.
- Skin: White pepper helps in skin exfoliation and helps remove the dead cells on the skin. Additionallyits antioxidant property enhances blood circulation. The combined effect of these two gives the skin a soft and bright look and feel.
- Eyesight: The spice acts as an active ingredient in improving vision as it is rich in Vitamin A.
Harvest Area and Season
As part of the same plant, white pepper has similar requirements and harvests season as black pepper. Thus, the plant grows well in moderately hot climates that are a little humid, having an annual rainfall of 125-200cm that gets distributed evenly. It thrives at a slightly warm temperature of 23-32 degrees Celsius and in red laterite, clayey, sandy loam, and red loam soils. These conditions make Indonesia the leading producer of white pepper spice.
The harvest season of the pepper plant starts 7-8 months after the start of the flowering period. Thus, the ideal time to harvest in the plains is December-January and January-April in the hills. The harvest period gets indicated by a yellow coloring or tinge of the plant’s berries.