Rose pepper picking season

13 Jul

If you search the Internet you’ll find several recipes using what is being called rose pepper (rose peppercorn, Brazilian pepper, poivre rose, baie rose, poivre de Bourbon, Florida holly, “aroeira” among others). In fact, it’s not a pepper (which usually belong to the genus Piper, with over 2,000 known species) but rather a small tree of the species Schinus terebinthifolius. Although some sites on the net attribute its origin to Madagascar, it’s in fact native of Paraguay, northern Argentina and specially southern Brazil, where it has been used mainly for ornamental purposes.

The seeds of Schinus add a very mild pepper-like taste to food, and thus have been used in several dishes as a substitute to the usually spicer true peppers. Winter, which has just arrived here, is the time for rose pepper picking and, it’s so abundant you can find a tree in almost every garden.

Young (aroun 3 years old) rose pepper tree

Young (aroun 3 years old) rose pepper tree

Almost ripe rose peppercorns

Almost ripe rose peppercorns

Brazilian pepper, which is quite common in French cuisine, was introduced in the US by the end of the XIXth century in Florida, where it found excellent growth conditions and has been prohibited, as it has been displacing native species. It’s actually found all over the world, constituting a very successful invader. Let it invade your kitchen too, as it may add an interisting flavor to your recipe.

Pink Peppercorns on Foodista

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