Tasmanian Pepperberry (Tasmannia lanceolata), otherwise known as mountain pepper, native pepper or bush pepper, is an exciting new spice causing something of a stir in the culinary world.
It is native to Tasmania and so so sooooo much better than conventional pepper!
It is a small black berry with a unique fruity flavour, fragrant eucalypt/ menthol/ fruity aroma, and a characteristically delayed but intense peppery heat.
Give it 30 seconds…. that’s right, you’re feeling it now!
Such a versatile spice it is well suited to both savoury & sweet dishes.
Botanical name: Tasmannia lanceolata
Common name: Tasmanian pepper, Mountain pepper, Native pepper, Bush Pepper, Pepperberry
Air Dried vs Freeze Dried Pepperberry
It all depends on how you intend to use it!
Freeze dried pepperberry looks exactly like the fresh berry. It has a delicate crispy texture that can quickly get crushed to a vibrant purple powder, which is very attractive when sprinkled decoratively over food.
It has a notable sweet fruity flavour at first, followed by its characteristic heat.
Because freeze dried pepper is a bit more expensive it is best used as a garnish in a meal, dessert or in a cocktail.
Air dried pepperberry looks exactly like traditional peppercorns but packs much more of a punch! Although it lacks the soft fruitiness of freeze dried pepperberry it makes up for it in spicy potency! Use just like you would normal pepper!
Buy a second pepper grinder and use it for pepperberry only!
Freshly cracked Pepperberry added at the end of cooking gives the best aromatics and full flavour experience. Use it wherever you would use conventional pepper but remember it also works well with sweet dishes. Try grinding it over vanilla ice-cream!
Keep in mind that too much cooking can affect the flavour of pepperberry so best to add it at the end of cooking.
Pepperberry is a powerful natural colouring agent, turning your food either purple or deep red. For a really vibrant colour try squeezing a drop of lemon juice onto ground pepper!
Pepperberry leaf and berries contain more anti-oxidants than blueberries!
It also contains natural anti-inflammatories and the hot tasting compounds called polygodials. These have been shown to have a wide range of biological activities – more research is required to substantiate health benefits.
Find out more info here:
(per 100g dried berry)
Pepperberry is recognised in indigenous culture but very little details on usage is known. Early European settlers used it in flavouring and identified it as having commercial importance in 1804. However it was not until the 1990’s that significant efforts were made to develop an industry. Now orchards are beginning to appear around Tasmania as the industry transitions from wild harvest to orchard based production.
We harvest our own pepperberries
Our pepperberries are hand picked from several farms across Tasmania. We are also currently establishing our own orchard! See Tarkine Pepper for details.
* Source: Brand Miller, J., James, K.W. and Maggiore, P. (1993) Tables of Composition of Australian Aboriginal Foods. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press. Konczak, I., Zabaras, D., Dunstan, M., Aguas, P., Roulfe, R., Pavan, A., (2009) Health Benefits of Australian Native Foods, RIRDC Pub. No. 09/133.