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Piper Nigrum substitute for Zone 7b.  RSS feed

 
John Todd
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Hi! We love black pepper.  But we can't grow it in Zone 7b because it gets too cold.

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!
-John
 
John Todd
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Woah! Slow down ... don't everybody talk at once. 

Seriously, throw me some ideas.  THe Good, The Bad, but keep The Ugly.

Thanks!
-John
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1468
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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I know the seeds of papaya are traditionally substituted for peppercorns. I don't know how closely the flavor matches, though. The seeds themselves look like peppercorns, so there's a high power of suggestion there.

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?
 
Caroline Rodgers
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Have you tried Grains of Paradise AKA alligator peppers?  They can grow in zones 9-11, and they used to be used as a black pepper substitute WAY back in the day.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 219
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee
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I've been looking for black pepper replacement too.  Alligator pepper is a perenial in frost free areas. My question is, can this plant be grown as an annual in zone 7?
Here is a good article on alligator pepper. Not enough info on cultivating it though.
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_grains_paradise.htm

Growing recommendations. It is a perenial in frost free areas.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/propagation-alligator-peppers-77095.html

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.
https://books.google.com/books?id=DDQq9vSLK_QC&pg=PA326&lpg=PA326&dq=how+long+for+alligator+pepper+to+mature&source=bl&ots=ZWlZft_gTj&sig=rxgbptlQ9ogAAQPwWKJ7X3BajhM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjFtMjq35DUAhWKKMAKHRM0A0A4FBDoAQghMAA#v=onepage&q=how%20long%20for%20alligator%20pepper%20to%20mature&f=false

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!

Arrrgh!
 
Liz Hoxie
Posts: 210
Location: Ellisforde, WA
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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.
 
John Todd
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Thanks guys!  I'm going to look into the alligator peppers.
 
John Todd
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Casie Becker wrote:Can you identify aspects of the flavor that stand out to you?


Yes.  First off is the taste bud stimulation that makes all other flavors "pop".  Second is the fruitiness of fresh ground pepper from peppercorns.
 
Alexandra Clark
Posts: 74
Location: Long Island, NY
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
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I let the wild herb poor man's pepper grow in my garden, grab the little seed heads and use them. It is like a blend of wasabi and black pepper...delish!
 
John Todd
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Jd Gonzalez
Posts: 220
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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Sichuan (szechuan) pepper is a good substitute. It grows as a tree in zones 6 to 9. Both seeds and leaves are used.
 
John Todd
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Now that looks like a good option.  I have room for trees in the orchard!
 
Tj Jefferson
pollinator
Posts: 185
Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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I am thinking about starting Zanthoxylum Simulans from seed since I have found no source online. They are dioecious so likely you need to plant at least 4 to have a good shot at a crop from seedlings.

Looks like seeds online are quite cheap.
 
Jd Gonzalez
Posts: 220
Location: Virginia,USA zone 6
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forest garden greening the desert hunting trees
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Try to source a local producer for the seeds. All imported sichuan peppercorns are heat treated before shipping to kill potential fungi that threaten citrus trees in the US.
I found this place in Oregon. However, they're out of stock.

https://onegreenworld.com/product/sechuan-pepper-2/

They do have the Japanese pepper (Sansho)

https://onegreenworld.com/product/sansho-seedling-2/

I think both will be on my property soon.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
Posts: 917
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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apparewntly alexanders seeds, I grow the plant but haven't used it as pepper so far. Take care and read up the medical properties before you substitue.
 
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