Pink Pepper

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Pink Pepper is a pseudo-pepper, i.e. not part of the pepper family, coming from two members of the Schinus family of trees. Most pink pepper comes from Schinus terebinthifolius. originally native to Brazil and Peru, but is now grown in many countries, including the Island of Réunion.

The berries of pink peppercorn trees start as green, turn yellow and ripen into chains of bright pink through to scarlet peppercorns. When dried these pink pepper berries are 5 mm in diameter (¼ inch) and have a really crumbly pink outer husk with little aroma or flavour. Inside the pink husk there is a small (3 mm/ ⅛ inch) hard, brown seed.

It is this small seed that releases the sweet, volatile, piny aromas when crushed and a faintly piperine aroma. The flavours of pink pepper are fruity with a warm, camphorous and mildly peppery flavour, together with an astringency that lingers, perhaps a little too long.

Pink pepper is best used for its colour rather than its flavour, so use it within a coloured pepper mix, or as a finish to chocolate, or in pink savoury sauces. Pink pepper, also, complements the flavours of chicken, fish and game really well, due to its pine-like flavours.

Further reading

  • Hemphill, I., Hemphill, K. (2014) The Spice and Herb Bible, Robert Rose. ISBN: 9780778804932.
  • McFadden, C. (2007) Pepper: the spice that changed the world, Absolute Press. ISBN: 9781904573609.
  • Norman, J. (2015) Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference, DK Publishing. ISBN: 9781465435989.