Foliage Friday: Accidental Pink Peppercorn Foraging

It is quite the coincidence that just this past Sunday, I posted my foraging goals. My Foliage Friday this week is, unintentionally, a forageable food! It’s not on the Forage, Harvest, Feast list, and I didn’t know it was a forageable food when I decided to pick this tree for my Foliage Friday.

I’m still working at the VA this week, and was looking for a plant to learn about for Foliage Friday… I wasn’t finding anything all that interesting, so I finally decided to learn the name of this tree:

There’s a cluster of them planted near the parking lot. They have long, thin, compoundly opposite leaves that last through the winter, and today I noticed some of the trees bear these pink berries:

After a bit of googling, I discovered these trees are actually California Peppertrees (Schinus molle), and those pink berries are pink peppercorn, a super schwanky gourmet spice that I’ve never tried (or maybe I have as part of a rainbow pepper mix….)

This is my first foraged food of 2021! (er…second, I guess after the citrus) It was right in front of me this whole time and I hadn’t even notice. Hooray for Foliage Fridays!!

Pink peppercorns were apparently all the rage several decades ago, but were banned by the FDA in 1982 over concern that they might be toxic. Pink peppercorns have since been un-banned, but be aware that pink peppercorns are not related to black peppercorns, but rather mangos, cashews, and poison ivy, so if you are allergic to any of those things, you’d be better off avoiding pink peppercorns. I will direct you to other sites, including Garden Betty, YouGrowGirl, and Penniless Parenting for more information about pink peppercorns, if you’re curious.

Who would’ve guessed you’d find a gourmet spice growing next a parking garage at a VA hospital? Most of the berries were too high up in the tree for me to pick, but there were a bunch on the grass that I gathered up. I’m letting this dry for a little bit, and then I get to use them.

Any suggestions for what I should do with them? Green bean pickles? Cacio e peppe rosso? Pink peppercorn ice cream?

5 thoughts on “Foliage Friday: Accidental Pink Peppercorn Foraging”

  1. From gardenbetty.com
    “They have a fruity and slightly spicy profile (like mild chile peppers) that complements seafood, salads, curries, cheese, chocolate, or popcorn.”

    1. Hmmm….Marie’s Gourmet Peppercorn Chocolate. Or Peppercorn Chocolate-covered Popcorn? Peppercorn and Chocolate-Coated Popcorn with Parmesan?

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