White pepper is a spice produced from the dried fruit of the pepper plant, Piper nigrum, as is black pepper. It is usually milder than black pepper, with a less complex flavor. While they come from the berries of the same plant, the difference between white pepper and black pepper starts when the berries are picked. White pepper is made from fully ripe pepper berries. Whole peppercorns retain their flavor for much longer. Both ground and whole white pepper go stale faster than black pepper, so be sure to refresh your stock regularly. White pepper has a hot taste on the tongue, although sources differ on whether it is hotter or milder than black pepper. White pepper should be added after the dish has been cooked, as overheating can release a bitter flavor. It is chosen over black pepper either for appearance (as in creamed soups, vichyssoise, mashed or whipped potatoes, and clam chowder) or because of the difference in heat and flavor, as with Asian dishes.
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