NZ Lifestyle Block
A LITTLE DASH OF PEPPER
In a still holding 150 litres of ingredients for a batch of gin, Kate and David add just 1.25g of Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum simulans).
Once dried, the citrus-pineflavoured peppercorns quickly numb the tongue, which is why they use so little.
It’s an incredibly thorny tree, so much so that nurseryman Peter Cave recommends putting it somewhere out of the way and only visiting it in autumn to collect the berries.
Peter sells plants online (www.petercavenursery.co.nz), and they’re also available at the Waikato Tree Crops annual sale in July at Hamilton Gardens (treecrops.org.nz/ category/branch/waikato).
Kate and David also use timut pepper (Zanthoxylum armatum), a close relation of Sichuan pepper.
“It’s one of my favourites,” says Kate. “The main thing is it’s so citrusy, it’s really incredible used in Asian cuisine too.”