A Spring for the Sichuan Pepper (Sansho)…

… or actually, as this is about spring season, we’ll talk about kinome.

Sichuan pepper still isn’t much of a household spice, but the “peppercorns” as well as the plants are becoming easier to get than they used to be.

What remains little known is the use of it, especially when it comes to the Japanese way of using freshly sprouting leaves and buds.

Fresh Sansho-Shoots

As happens so often, these are uses that depend heavily on seasonal availability and don’t travel well, thus can’t really be put on the global market.
And so, they remain local… and as there is only too much to do these days of spring, the season has been passing without my even just getting around to talking about these uses of sansho (as the Japanese call Sichuan pepper).

Given that I have quite a bit to tell about that spice, and as I have taken on the role of midwife to a brood of Sichuan pepper seedlings, this spring topic remains the perfect start, though…

To also provide the names in writing:

The Japanese name for the Sichuan pepper ‘shoots’ which are the main topic of the video is kinome (whereas the whole plant and the spice from the seed shells is known as sansho).

The flowers don’t actually get a special name; they are just referred to as hana sansho (sansho no hana?), which means nothing but “Sichuan pepper flower(s)”.

In China, while we are at it, the tree and its spice are known as huajiao, “flower pepper”.

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