Getting To Know The Pink Peppercorn

Discovering unusual spices and herbs, one jar at a time.



Description: Don’t let the name fool you; pink peppercorns are not  members of the peppercorn family (which grow on vines), but dried berries from two varieties of schinus trees. To further confuse things, they resemble peppercorns, and they, too, have a peppery flavor.

You Might Like To Know: In 1982, the Food and Drug Administration banned the import of pink peppercorns from France into the US, claiming that eating the berries risked an array of symptoms, such as swollen eyelids, indigestion, and hemorrhoids. (Yikes!) France (where dishes such as côte de boeuf with pink peppercorn sauce are popular) maintained that the berries were safe to eat if grown in prescribed conditions. The United States later lifted the ban. The lesson? In culinary debates, defer to the French. 

Purported Attribute: Birds that eat pink peppercorns are rumored to act intoxicated. Keep them away from your pet cockatoos!

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