Better known under the name of "berry" or "false peppers" by the general public, the Zanthoxylum form a large family of diverse and varied trees and shrubs. Zanthoxylum berries have the particularity of offering a citrus scent.
Zanthoxylum, where, when, how?
Zanthoxylum grow in temperate regions, therefore including much of Asia and America.
Directly after the flowering period, its branches are sometimes adorned with small berries that swarm, with the intoxicating scents and flavors of citrus fruits. They can take many different colors depending on the species, the soil and the climate with which they are confronted.
Zanthoxylums are quite recognizable, whether by taste, nose or even sight.
Sechuan Bay comes to us from China. It can be green or red, depending on the maturity at which it was harvested. Its nose tends more towards notes of orange peel for the red and bergamot for the green.
Timut , brown in color, comes from Nepal. It is also called "grapefruit pepper", because its taste and fragrance are very similar to this fruit.
The fruits of Zanthoxylums are incorrectly called "pepper" because we use them in the same way. Once dried properly, it is customary to grind the berries and sprinkle them on your plate; It can be used both savory and sweet! These "peppers" can even very well be infused into a drink or for the preparation of cocktails.
Well dosed and with a fine grind, a zanthoxylum will bring freshness to your plate. Conversely, too coarse a grind or an overdose could make your dish too fragrant, too bitter or too acidic.
Remember, these berries are mostly very aromatic and therefore should be used sparingly.
Note: Zanthoxylum also has a paraesthetic side, that is to say that when it comes into contact with your taste buds, you will feel tingling painless, but very surprising! Don't panic, this is completely normal and harmless.
As you will have understood, it is a whole new world of spices that is offered to you thanks to Zanthoxylums. Try them in fruit salads and chocolate desserts or quite simply with seafood, fish, shellfish, molluscs: that's where they are the best!