Are there other plants that have the same or similar flavor profile as black pepper? Anything easy to grow or that is a perennial? Reading through an old medieval cookbook, I see fennel/anise used almost as much as we use pepper. But, as much as I like fennel, it isn't pepper!
Juniper Berries: (Hardy to zone 1!) Supposedly tastes piney and citrusy and is traditionally used in Scandinavian cuisine for seasoning meat dishes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniper_berry
). So far, this seems the easiest option, as juniper likes to take over here, though it doesn't sound too peppery to me, though I guess traders used to used to mix it in with their pepper to trick buyers...
Sumac Berries: (Most varieties hardy to zone 3, Staghorn sumac supposedly having the best flavor) Lemony flavored. Doesn't sound peppery at all, but does grow easily and is native here. (http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/09/foraged-flavor-all-about-sumac.html).
Pink Peppercorn/Schinus molle: (Hardy to zone 8 or 9) Tastes like pepper, but is slightly toxic according to some sources. Considering the amount of pepper I use, I don't think this is a viable option! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schinus_molle
Papaya Seeds: (Hardy to zone 9) Supposedly tastes just like pepper...but it doesn't grow here. Plus, I can't imagine getting that much "pepper" from one papaya tree... (This person did manage to grow some in zone 5-6, though! http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/2187401/fruiting-papaya-in-zone-5-6)
Coriander: (self-seeds in many areas). Citrusy and earthy, not much like pepper...
Szechuan Pepper: (hardy to zone 6). Once again, supposedly tastes lemony and it makes your mouth numb (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sichuan_pepper).
Mountain Pepper or Tasmanian Pepper (Hardy to zone 7): Supposedly tastes like pepper! One problem is, many varieties have sasfrol, which is considered carcinogenic (same compound that's in sassafras). http://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/2867/mountain-pepper/
I'm kind of wondering why almost all the plants that "taste like pepper" supposedly taste lemony/citrusy...
Anyone have any other ideas for peppercorn-flavored plants, or notes on how these other plants actually taste?
The studies Ive seen accomplish this by giving lab animals 1000's of times the amounts anyone would naturally consume.
Basically forcing the animals to live solely off of sassafras or giving them pure sasfrol in large doses over a long period of time.
I mean the WHO just labeled red meat in the same carcinogenic class as cigarettes.
I think moderation is key in just about everything when it comes down to it.
I'd like to know of a substitute for it that will grow here. We already grow every hot chili-pepper there is, like jalapeno, cayenne, tabasco, as well as the bell peppers and pepperoncini.
I'd like to grow something I can dry and grind up that tastes close to black pepper. No growing in pots, these will be dedicated beds outside.
Thanks so much!
There might be a possibility of growing them as an annual crop as they can apparently produce fruit as young as 9 months. Growing them in a pot is a possible solution, but I find it a lot more exciting when I can grow things in the ground.
Unfortunately, when I think of the flavor of black pepper the only describable part of it is the burn. The rest of the flavors are very subtle to me. Can you identify aspects of the flavor that stand out to you?
Here is a good article on alligator pepper. Not enough info on cultivating it though.
Growing recommendations. It is a perenial in frost free areas.
Still no info on whether it can be grown as an annual in zone 7 (as tomatoes are). I didn't find out how long it takes from sprouting to bloom, but this book states that from bloom to seeds it takes 2 to 3 months.
And my available time for this search has been expended.
Again, the question: Can this plant be grown as an annual in zone 7? We are left with the usual permie answer of.... DRUMROLL! Try it and see!
I found this place in Oregon. However, they're out of stock.
They do have the Japanese pepper (Sansho)
I think both will be on my property soon.
Several plants in the United States are used also as pepper substitutes, such as Lepidium campestre, Lepidium virginicum, shepherd's purse, horseradish, and field pennycress.
Lepidium campestre, the field pepperwort or field pepperweed, is usually a biennial with some form of annual plant in the Brassicaceae or mustard family, The young fruits and seeds can be used as a spice, with a taste between black pepper and mustard.
Lepidium virginicum, also known as least pepperwort or Virginia pepperweed, is an herbaceous plant in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is native to much of North America, including most of the United States and Mexico and southern regions of Canada, as well as most of Central America. The young seedpods can be used as a substitute for black pepper.
Capsella bursa-pastoris, known by its common name shepherd's purse because of its triangular flat fruits, which are purse-like, is a small (up to 0.5 m) annual and ruderal flowering plant in the mustard family Brassicaceae. It is native to eastern Europe and Asia minor, but is naturalized and considered a common weed in many parts of the world, especially in colder climates,
Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana, syn. Cochlearia armoracia) is a perennial plant of the Brassicaceae family (which also includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbage). It is a root vegetable used as a spice.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thlaspi_arvense (Fieeld Pennycress)
I found this: https://spicetrekkers.com/products/spices/green-alder-pepper
They also have a section on northern spices, I had no idea and have to try
(Fennel flower; Russian caraway; Black caraway) Commonly featured in Indian dhals and equally at home in Russian rye bread! Aromatic black seeds resemble fennel in aroma and taste something like peppery nutmeg. Seeds can be ground and used with near abandon like black pepper. Its legendary healing powers are summed up in the Arab proverb, “In the black seed is the medicine for every disease except death.”
Liz Hoxie wrote:One of the common names of vitex is 'Monk's Pepper", maybe that will help.
Because of the common names (Chaste Tree and Monk's Pepper), you may not want to try it.
My memory is telling me, Chaste Tree was used by monks in an attempt to suppress libido (sex drive). They used it liberally which is why it developed the name "Monk's Pepper".
Chaste tree definitely has an effect on the sex hormones in both men and women, so please do research this before using it as a substitute.
geraint britton wrote:Satureja hortensis/montana. Summer/winter Savoury. Here in Italy it's called Erba Pepe....guess ...
Used lots with legumes (aids digestion) and is great for calming the itch of mosquito bites. A friend cooks her cabbage with guarana powder - I still haven't tried it out.
I’ll start with a disclaimer here: I do not have a very refined pallet. To me chives, leeks and green onion all taste the same. So take this with a grain of salt.
I just opened and smelled my summer savory next to my pepper grinder. They are surprisingly similar. Except savory does not have the kick that black pepper has. So maybe if you mixed it with just a touch of horseradish or the like it would get there?
Summer savory definitely has a more broad growing range. I grow it successfully in New Hampshire, USA in zone 5. I tried starting winter savory last year but it didn’t survive the winter. That could be for a lot of reasons so I’m trying again this year.
Early travelers and pioneers of the American West once referred clematis as "pepper vines" as they used to use clematis to substitute for pepper to spice up their food.
The source says Clematis ligusticifolia seeds but also talks of toxins. Any one any experience on eating clematis seeds?