The Szechuan province of China is home to the Szechuan pepper. Despite some similarities to black peppercorns, they are actually the dried berry of a tree in the rue family and not a member of the pepper family. Through the entire temperate region of China, Japan, the Himalayas, and North America, a number of Zanthoxylum species flourish. They all have the characteristics of being fragrant and being used in herbal medicines.
Rust-colored Szechuan peppercorns have open ends and hair-thin stems. The tiny beechnut-like dried berries have a diameter of 4 to 5 mm. Although the spice primarily consists of the empty husks, the rough skin rips open to reveal a 3 mm diameter brittle black seed. It is truly accessible from the top or bottom.
Are Szechuan peppercorns a pepper?
In spite of its name, peppercorn isn't actually a pepper at all—at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, it is a type of fruit that is cultivated on the Chinese prickly ash shrub. Additionally, its seeds, often referred to as Jiao Mu or Zanthoxyli Semen, are employed medicinally. The majority of China has it, but it is known as schezwan pepper corn only because the quality of the product there is the highest. Due to its distinct spicy and scorching flavour, it is also sometimes referred to as Sichuan numbing pepper and Chinese floral pepper.
How are Szechuan peppercorns harvested?
Szechuan peppercorns are harvested in the fall when the fruit is ready. After that, the contaminants should be eliminated before sun drying them. The pods are then separated from the seeds since they have a variety of medicinal uses.
Health benefits of Szechuan peppercorns:
The pepper, a common element in East Asian cuisine, is one of the foods that contains the highest concentrations of essential oils, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Sichuan pepper, in contrast to other pepper varieties, contains distinctive essential oils that give them a distinctive citrus flavour and a stinging, spicy taste. Terpenes such ß-myrcene, limonene, geraniol, linalool, cineol, citronellal, and di-pentene are responsible for their aromatic flavour, while some alkamides imbedded in their outer shell are responsible for their hotness.
Szechuan peppers, like black peppercorns, improve digestion by stimulating the gut's release of gastric juice and digestive enzymes.
Szechuan peppers are also a good source of minerals including copper, potassium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc as well as vitamins like vitamin-A, carotenes, pyridoxine, and thiamin.