A container of black pepper seems to have both black and greyish bits. Why is this the case? Shouldn’t it all just be black?

  • 4
    Could you post a picture of the container? Black pepper is not completely black through and through. The inside is lighter, which might come across as grey depending.
    – user141592
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 13:55
  • 4
    The center of a black peppercorn is white. (and sold as 'white pepper' if it's been removed) chowhound.com/food-news/138263/…
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 16:39
  • 3
    I highly recommend buying a proper pepper grinder and buying good quality whole peppercorns so you can grind just prior to use.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 19:29
  • 1
    In the absence of a proper pepper grinder, I would still recommend using a bad pepper grinder, or even a mortar and pestle. If you're using pre-ground black pepper, you might as well use white.
    – Martijn
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 14:50
  • 1
    Why is ground beef not black and white cow spotted?
    – A C
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 16:17

2 Answers 2


Here is a photo of a peppercorn. You can see why a ground one might contain both black and grey bits.

A photo of a split open peppercorn showing a light grey interior and dark exterior

  • Yep. Seeds have a hardish outer casing for protection from weather etc., and innards full of carbs and protein to grow a new plant. Two purposes, at least two different compounds, two different colors. Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 0:44


According to this article, consistency and the darkness of the color is a sign of the quality of the black pepper. Note that this is talking about the outside layer of the peppercorn, not the inside as moscafj has noted.

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