'There's certainly too much pepper in that soup!' Alice said to herself, as well as she could for sneezing. — Alice in Wonderland (1865). Chapter VI: Pig and Pepper. Note the cook's pepper mill.

White pepper

White pepper consists solely of the seed of the ripe fruit of the pepper plant, with the thin darker-coloured skin (flesh) of the fruit removed. This is usually accomplished by a process known as retting, where fully ripe red pepper berries are soaked in water for about a week so the flesh of the peppercorn softens and decomposes; rubbing then removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Sometimes alternative processes are used for removing the outer pepper from the seed, including removing the outer layer through mechanical, chemical, or biological methods.

Ground white pepper is used commonly in Chinese, Thai and Portuguese cuisine, but also in salads, light-coloured sauces, and mashed potatoes as a substitute, because black pepper would visibly stand out. However, white pepper lacks certain compounds present in the outer layer of the drupe, resulting in a different overall flavour.