Sansho ('Zanthoxylum piperitum') or Japanese pepper is a deciduous aromatic spiny tree belonging to the citrus family. The "berries" can be harvested when green and the taste is unlike anything I've ever experienced. It's like a party in your mouth as the flavor travels and changes...it's not hot and spicy but more tingly and citrusy. And if you take a drink of cold water after eating some, it awakens all your taste buds all over again. Amazing! We primarily use it in miso dip served with fresh veggies. Recipe will follow in a separate post.
|early flowering stage before fruit forms|
1. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a slow boil. Use approximately 1 T. kosher salt per liter of water used. Add approximately 2 cups of sansho berries. Simmer for 4 minutes.
We do the whole batch at once and adjust quantities accordingly.
2. Drain and then soak in cold water for one hour. This removes any potential bitterness. Drain.
3. Remove large stems - small individual stems are okay to leave. This step takes forever - really, it seems endless! It takes two of us well over an hour to remove the stems.
4. Dry well on paper towels.
|Sansho miso made with chickpea miso|