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About Bulk Pepper

Black Pepper vs. White Pepper: what’s the difference and which is right for you?

While both varieties originate from the same vine, they couldn’t be more different – varying in color, taste, smell and even age. Learn more about which pepper would best fit your application. Read more

Black Pepper FAQs

  • Where does black pepper come from? Black pepper comes from the same plant as white pepper, Piper Nigrum. It originates in Southern India, and is cultivated all over the tropics. With 36% of global production, Vietnam now leads the world in Pepper Production.
  • What is black pepper? Black pepper is the dried fruit of the Pepper Plant, and is the most traded spice in the world and is used to flavor a plethora of dishes. It brings a unique, biting spiciness, but not necessarily hot, flavor to its dishes. Unlike White Pepper, black pepper is immediately dried after harvest with the skin on. As it dries, the skin turns black and wrinkly.
  • How does black pepper grow? The Pepper Plant is a flowering vine native to Southern India. It is a perennial woody vine and can grow to over 12 feet in height. The fruit, or peppercorn, is about 5mm in diameter and contains a single seed; the seed, by itself (without the skin), is white pepper. Pepper fruits are typically harvested after the third year of growth, and continue to bear fruit for roughly seven years.
  • What is black pepper good for? Pretty much everything! It’s one of the most popular spices in the world, and brings a great biting spiciness to any dish.

White Pepper FAQs

  • What is white pepper? White Pepper is the fruit of the Pepper Plant. It is similar to Black Pepper in that it comes from the same plant; it’s actually the same berry! It is harvested and soaked, removing the black skin and leaving behind a smooth white finish on the berry. The taste is bright and sharp and slightly more herbaceous than black pepper; with some versions reminiscent of a piney, resin-y fragrance. It is often used in Asian dishes and hot and sour soups, camouflaging well with lightly colored foods.
  • Where does white pepper come from? Remember, white pepper comes from the same plant as black pepper, Piper Nigrum. It originates in Southern India, and is cultivated all over the tropics. With 36% of global production, Vietnam now leads the world in Pepper Production.
  • Where to buy white pepper? You can buy white pepper from most markets, although it is less common than the more ubiquitous Black Pepper. However, Olam’s direct line to farmers and pepper estates in Vietnam and India make it a sure-fire source for the lesser known pepper.
  • What is the difference between white pepper and black pepper?

    Interestingly, the pepper plant, Piper Nigrum, produces four different types of pepper: Black, White, Red, and Green. That’s right, they all come from the same plant! The difference lies in how they are harvested and dried. Black pepper is dried with the skin on, giving it the wrinkly look we are all familiar with. White pepper has this skin removed, and as such is smooth and white in color, with a slightly different taste. White pepper is slightly more earthy/musty taste, with Black Pepper eliciting a spicy heat.


Did you know?

Black pepper is the number one selling spice in America, and has been used in cooking for over 2,000 years! 

Six reasons to sprinkle some more

  • May help stimulate digestion.
  • May reduce inflammation.
  • May help relieve the symptoms of a cold and cough.
  • May enable weight loss.
  • May help improve skin.
  • May help address depression. 

Moderation is key

Consuming too much black pepper may cause gastrointestinal issues, as well as an upset stomach.

15 Vitamins and Minerals

  • Calcium
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Riboflavin
  • Sodium
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

Black Pepper Applications

So, what can bulk pepper be used for? Pepper has many simple applications, including:

  • Salad dressings and sauces
  • Marinade and rubs
  • Stews and soups
  • Breading mixes
  • Meat, fish, poultry, and plant-based dishes

Did you know?

The mummy of Ramesses II was found with peppercorns stuffed in the nostrils as part of the mummification process.

Six reasons to sprinkle some more

  • May help with weight loss
  • May aid in clearing of the nasal passages
  • May be beneficial in heart health
  • May enhance eyesight
  • May help prevent stomach ulcers
  • May support digestion

Moderation is key

Repeated intake at higher doses of white pepper may cause internal agitation
and irritation.

16 Vitamins and Minerals

  • Calcium
  • Copper
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Niacin
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Riboflavin
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Thiamin
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

White Pepper Applications

White pepper has a hotter, earthy flavor compared to black pepper, making it a great addition to soups, dressings and marinades.

Pepper Origin

Peppercorns are actually a tiny fruit, the drupe of a flowering climbing vine known as piper nigrum, grown in tropical regions, native to the Indian subcontinent and in Southeast Asia. 

History of pepper

Did you know pepper is the most commonly used spice in the world? Archeological evidence also suggests that pepper, or Piper nirgrum, has been used as a spice since 2000 B.C., with the spice trade reaching from India to Egypt. Later, Ancient Rome was also a part of the pepper trade, with 80% of Roman recipes containing the spice. 

In fact, the spice was so valuable that Arab traders created a fantastical tale about how pepper was grown to keep their trade secure. As the legend goes, pepper was produced in India on trees guarded by poisonous dragons, and the spice must be burned on the tree to kill the serpents, ultimately resulting in black peppercorns. However, after the 14th century, pepper trade had spread to Europe and beyond, with the help of Portuguese, Dutch, and British trade companies.


Where is pepper cultivated?

Today the largest producer of pepper is Vietnam, which is one of the locations where Olam has a farm-level sourcing network. Currently, Vietnam accounts for 34% of the world’s pepper crop, with India and Indonesia following closely behind in terms of production scale. In addition, Olam supplies quality bulk pepper products from Brazil, Indonesia and Cambodia with a state-of-the-art processing facility in Vietnam. 

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is the dried berries of the perennial vine of the family Piperaceae. Black pepper is cultivated in hilly regions of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu & North eastern states. Black pepper takes about 7 - 8 months to reach full maturity after flowering. The harvested berries are piled up in heaps to initiate enzymatic browning that results in oxidation of phenolic compounds by atmospheric oxygen. The berries are detached from the stalk by trashing and allowed to sun dry on flat surface. The drying step reduces moisture and helps avoids mould formation. The uniform colour of the black pepper can be ensured by blanching. The mature berries are dipped in boiling water for a minute before drying.

Dried black pepper mixed with extraneous matter like spent spikes, pinheads, stones, soil particles etc is removed by the mechanical garbling of the black pepper. Mechanical Grading is done by using sieves of 3, 4.5, 4.75 and 5mm size.

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