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Pepper, Szechuan   /   Zanthoxylum simulans

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Buy: Pepper, Szechuan

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9921J Szechuan Pepper - Zanthoxylum simulans
Plant grown in 3 liters pot - Height of plant: 50/60 cm.
Photo available
27.50 Available
9921Q Szechuan Pepper - Zanthoxylum simulans
Plant grown in 3 liters pot - Height of plant: 50/60 cm.
Unit price available starting from 2 units purchased.
25.95 Available
9921L Szechuan Pepper - Zanthoxylum simulans
Young plug plant – Height of plant: 5/10 cm.
7.95 Available
9921T Szechuan Pepper - Zanthoxylum simulans
Young plug plant – Height of plant: 5/10 cm.
Unit price available starting from 3 units purchased.
7.45 Available
9921M Szechuan Pepper - Zanthoxylum simulans
Young plug plant – Height of plant: 5/10 cm.
Unit price available starting from 10 units purchased.
6.45 Available
9921U Szechuan Pepper - Zanthoxylum simulans
Young plug plant – Height of plant: 5/10 cm.
Unit price available starting from 25 units purchased.
5.95 Available
9921A FERTILISER – Fertiliser tablet to place at the bottom of the hole before planting. Slow release over 7 to 8 months. Only 1 tablet in each hole. 0.40 Available

 

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Everything about: Pepper, Szechuan

Szechuan Pepper - Zanthoxylum simulans (latin)

Geographical origin: China, Szechuan Province.
Adult dimensions: Height up to 5 m, width up to 4 m.
Foliage: Deciduous.
Type of soil: Any.
Climate: Hardy to -20°C, sensitive to spring frost which can jeopardize the harvest.
Site: Full sun.


Characteristics and uses:
The Szechuan Pepper plant is a very thorny shrub, from the Citrus family, which produces small berries in the autumn.

- The berries are harvested at maturity, wearing gloves used for pruning Roses, when they start to open up and reveal their shiny, black seed.
- Only the berries are used in cooking, without the seeds.
- Once separated, spread them as a thin layer on a baking tray and cook them all night long in the oven at 40°C, or for a few days placed underneath a hot radiator.
- Once dried, keep them in a hermetic tin.
- They are to be used grounded at the last minute to season dishes.
- Their powerful flavour is both aromatic and spicy, with hints of lemon.

The Szechuan Pepper plant does not require any particular care but it is preferable to train it in order to facilitate the harvesting of its berries. Ensure that it is not grown near a passageway or near playing areas because of its thorns. Finally, it is a very good shrub for growing in a defensive hedge.

Plant them now: the shortest way to your plate is through your garden!

Jean-Michel Groult advises you

A close relative to citrus
The Sichuan pepper plant is a shrub which can grow into a little tree, such as the Zanthoxylum. It belongs to the citrus family and has a strong peppery and spicy fragrance, but not really hot. The Szechuan pepper plant forms pink-coloured berries (but they are not the “pink bays” which are used in cooking). When they dry, they release a black seed which is thrown away to only use the outer part of the bay which is the most perfumed and the also the tenderest. Grounded, this part livens up salads, cooked dishes and preserves.

An easy plant in the garden
The Zanthoxylum is a plant which hasn’t got a lot of requirements. Its worst enemy is total shade which prevents it to blossom and produce fruits. It is not humidity’s sensitive in winter or drought sensitive in summer, perfectly withstands strong summer heat and at up to -18°C and even less in winter. So do not worry too much about choosing the best spot to plant it! In a rich soil, not too dry in summer, it grows before your very eyes and produces abundantly. The shrub has a tendency to grow more upright than width way. Normally it does not need pruning but you can force it to grow as a tree (with only one trunk) by pruning the ramifications which appear along the main stem, up to 1.20m in length. This pruning slows down the berries ‘production.

A slow but regular production
A Szechuan pepper plant can produce fruits as soon as its third year; therefore a young plant can produce fruits the year it has been bought. Nevertheless a rather rich, moist soil in summer encourages it to produce more easily. However, the first years, harvests are rather modest (just enough to fill a pepper-pot). A 10 years old Szechuan pepper plant will produce a lot more berries than you need so your friends and family will also enjoy it.

Good to know
The leaves when dried and reduced to a fine powder have a flavour very close to the berries’ flavour. In Japan, they prefer using the Szechuan’s leaves rather than its berries. Use young leaves, without thinning out your plant if you are impatient to have a taste of it!

It does sting… but not the palate!
The Zanthoxylums are a little bit thorny, just like rambles or Roses but not as fierce. With age, the plant bears less and less thorns. It is nevertheless recommended to plant them out of walkways to avoid snagging your clothes.

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