Black vs Green Peppercorns: Difference and Comparison

Pepper is one of the most common and important spices in the world. Pepper is used in almost all cuisines around the world in one form or another.

Mostly pepper is used in powdered form in food. It is also used as a condiment, along with salt, to add additional heat to the food.

Key Takeaways

  1. Black peppercorns are dried, while green peppercorns are picked and preserved before maturity.
  2. Green peppercorns have a milder flavor and aroma than the more pungent black peppercorns.
  3. Black peppercorns have a longer shelf life than green peppercorns due to their dried nature.

Black vs Green Peppercorns

The difference between Black and Green Peppercorns is that black pepper is made from dried peppercorns and is ground into a powder. Green pepper is made from unripe peppercorns and is not boiled or treated with other methods. This ensures that the green color of the peppercorns is retained in the final product.

Black vs Green Peppercorns

Black peppercorn is a product obtained from the drupes of the peppercorn tree. The drupes are harvested and then treated for a brief period of time under boiling water so as to rupture the cell walls of the pepper drupes.

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Then the treated drupes are sun-dried before they are ground to a powder.

Green peppercorns are also obtained from the unripe drupes of the pepper plant, but the drupes are not boiled. The drupes are treated with sulfur dioxide and then freeze-dried for making green peppercorns.

This is done to ensure that the green color of the drupes is retained in the final product.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBlack PeppercornsGreen Peppercorns
Definition Black peppercorns are the dried drupes of the pepper plant  Green peppercorns are also obtained from the pepper plant, but they are not dried
Process The unripe drupes are harvested, boiled in hot water, and dried under the sun, which causes a change of color in the drupesThe drupes are picked when they are still unripe, treated with sulfur dioxide and freeze-dried, to ensure the green color is retained 
Application Historically used as currency, for cooking, medicinal applications, and so on  Mostly only used for cooking
Health Benefits Black pepper contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, zinc, and ironGreen pepper helps in digestion, reduce stomach distress and bacterial growth 
Cuisine Almost all the cuisines in the world use black pepper in some form Only select cuisines, like Thai, French, and so on use green pepper

What is Black Peppercorns?

Black peppercorns are one of the world’s most commonly found and widely used spices. Black pepper is used in almost all types of cuisines around the world and has been a part of the human diet for centuries. 

Black pepper is also known for its medicinal properties and is a prominent ingredient in old and even new medicines.

Black pepper has many health benefits, it contains good amounts of important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and potassium, to name a few, and is a very important part of our daily diet.

Black pepper is prepared by harvesting the drupes of the pepper plant when they are still unripe. The unripe drupes are boiled for a brief moment. This makes the shells of the pepper soft for the later grinding process.

The boiled peppercorns are sundried until all the water is vaporized. Thus in the process of boiling and sun-drying, the color of the peppercorns goes from green to black. 

The black, dried peppercorns are then packed either whole or ground to a powder. The dried pepper is perfectly fine for consumption and thus can be used right after drying. 

Historically, black peppercorns were used as currency, but these days they are mainly used in different cuisines as a spice and also for making different medications.

black peppercorns

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What is Green Peppercorns?

Green peppercorns are the fruits of the flower-bearing pepper plant. Technically, they are drupes, as a single fruit contains only one seed.

Like black peppercorns, green peppercorns are used as a spice in different cuisines and consumed in different parts of the world.

Green peppercorns are not prepared in the same way as black peppercorns. As a result, green peppercorns do not turn black towards the end of the preparation process.

To begin the preparation process, the pepper plant’s unripe drupes are first harvested. These drupes are then treated with sulfur dioxide instead of being boiled like regular peppercorns.

The treatment with sulfur dioxide is followed by freeze-drying to pack the peppercorns. The whole process ensures that the green color of the peppercorns is retained in the final product.

Thus as the peppercorns are not sun-dried like regular peppercorns, the color of the peppercorns remains the same unripe green and does not change to black.

Green peppercorns are mostly used for cooking and not used much in medicines. Also, only a handful of cuisines, like French, Thai, and some Western European cultures, use green peppercorns in their food.

Green peppercorns also have similar health benefits to black peppercorns. They improve digestion and reduce digestive problems; they contain nutrients like iron and zinc and also contain anti-bacterial properties.

green peppercorns

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Main Differences Between Black and Green Peppercorns

  1. Black peppercorns are the dried drupes of the pepper plant. Green peppercorns are also obtained from the pepper plant, but they are not dried.
  2. For making Black peppercorns, the unripe drupes are harvested, boiled in hot water and dried under the sun, which causes a change of color in the drupes. For making Green Peppercorns, the drupes are picked when they are still unripe, treated with sulfur dioxide and freeze-dried to ensure the green color is retained. 
  3. Historically, Black Peppercorns were used as currency for cooking, medicinal applications, etc. Green Peppercorns are mostly only used for cooking.
  4. Black pepper contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, zinc and iron. Green pepper helps in digestion and reduces stomach distress and bacterial growth.
  5. Almost all the cuisines in the world use black pepper in some form. Only select cuisines, like Thai, French and so on, use green pepper.
Difference Between Black and Green Peppercorns
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780857090393500062
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13197-015-1792-5

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