White pepper consists of the seed only, with the fruit removed. This is usually accomplished by allowing fully ripe berries to soak in water for about a week, during which time the flesh of the fruit softens and decomposes. Rubbing then removes what remains of the fruit, and the naked seed is dried. Alternative processes are used for removing the outer fruit from the seed, including removal of the outer layer from black pepper produced from unripe berries.
White pepper is produced from peppercorns that have been allowed to fully ripen, skinned, and then dried to produce small tannish colored peppercorns that are used as a spice. They have a milder flavor than the less ripe version (black peppercorns). White pepper is used as an alternative to black pepper in recipes such as white sauces or white mashed potatoes when a more pleasing appearance is desired to eliminate the black specks throughout the food.
White pepper is often used instead of black pepper in dishes where the black flecks are considered unsightly.