Pink Pepper
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Rosalie
Posted on: March 15, 2001

I hope that you can answer my question.

I am about to leave the country to go to Poland where I was born. I sent an e-mail to the person who is meeting me at the airport asking her if there is anything that she would like for me to bring from the USA. Her response was "Pink Pepper." Could you please help me understand what herb she is referring to? I would love to fulfill her request. She visited California last year and maybe there where she discovered this pink pepper or peppercorn.

What your friend is refering to, likely, is the red peppercorn from the brazilian pepper tree, known botanically as Schinus terebinthifolius. It is a tropical tree that has become naturalized in Florida. Its pink or red peppercorns were an innovation of the Nouvelle Cuisine of the 1970s and 1980s, and have since become entrenched in a variety of gastronomic styles on America.

It is possible to grow it as a pot plant. Its dark, shiny leaves and vigourous growth habit lends itself as an attractive specimen plant for pot culture in a bright window or in a greenhouse or sunroom. It is not likely to produce peppercorns, however, when grown in a pot; it requires an outdoor setting for flowering and fruiting to occur.

The peppercorns can cause rashes in some sensitive individuals, so caution is advised when trying them for the first time or when handling the plants.

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