Published by PETA.

With so many varieties to choose from, it is hard to know which peppercorn is right for you. Now, I know this is keeping many of you awake at night, so I’ve created a quick guide that covers the basics.

Black pepper is from the unripe berries of the pepper plant. They are cooked and then dried, turning them into the shriveled berries used worldwide. The bite of black pepper is suitable for seasoning in most foods.

White pepper is the seed of the ripened fruit. The fruit is soaked in water, and then the flesh is removed to obtain the seed. White pepper is a little milder than black pepper and is commonly used in light-colored dishes such as mashed potatoes, white sauces, or light-colored soups.

Green pepper is also made from the unripe berries. They are packed in brine or freeze-dried to maintain the green color. Because it’s milder than black and white pepper, use green pepper in dishes that require less kick.

•The rare pink peppercorn is the ripe red pepper berry. It isn’t a true peppercorn but makes a great complement to a peppercorn blend.

Now that you know the basics, make sure your pepper maintains peak flavor by storing it in an airtight container in a dark location. Also, to achieve optimum flavor, freshly grind your peppercorns using a peppermill.

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