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Sichuan Peppercorn


jhlurie
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Good info, here, guys ... thanks muchly.

I'm not familiar with Virginia Lee -- I'll have to find her book -- but I've got a big sealed jar of the peppercorns and they're starting to go downhill. I don't know when they were harvested, but I bought them earlier this year (they were in good shape, until recently), and only in the last month or so they've started to lose their oomph.

I suspect pj is right -- maybe they dry out, and once they do they remain in that condition indefinitely. So you use more of them? There's got to be something here, if you use a Tb in a Dunlop recipe where she specifies a tsp, it would be overwhelming, doncha think? One author uses small amounts of the freshest stuff and another uses large amounts of old sitting-around stuff?

And age aside, pj, it sounds like you bought a bag of stems-and-seeds rather than buds.

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I was in the Spice House yesterday and the manager told me that they may never have Sichuan peppercorns again. According to him, there is a citrus virus that is not a danger to humans, but could threaten the citrus crop. He said that irradiation will not destroy the offending virus.

Mostly we've been through this before (look up-topic). However, I think the specific information that irradiation won't destroy the virus is new.

The question remains... why isn't anyone else in the world worried? The U.S. is far from the only country with citrus crops.

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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  • 2 weeks later...

For anyone who's interested AsianWok sells preground peppercorns here.

http://asianwok.com/

I can't link directly to the product but you can find it by selecting ingredients/spices/pepper from the menu on the left side of the site.

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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If you're in the NY Metro area, there are tons of Sichuan peppercorns sitting right on the shelf at Foodmart International in Tonnelle Plaza in North Bergen, NJ. They're on aisle 5, around knee level, near the various other bags of peppercorns. They're 99 cents per 4oz bag.

Purchased today:

sp.jpg

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I just put two on my tongue and it tingled like heck. The package appears to be quite new. As I understand it, everything in that Foodmart is new inventory.

As I write, over the course of 30 seconds or so, my entire mouth is going numb from two of these little things.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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How fresh are they? Did you chew on a few to see if they exhibit the classic numbing?

The buzzing on the numb tip of my tongue tells me that they're fresh enough.

I should point out, by the way, that among Foodmart International's charms are several 20 foot tall, 5 yard wide stacked displays of Chef Boyardee canned ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, etc.

OK... apparently everything I eat for the rest of the evening will taste of sichuan peppercorn. :hmmm:

--

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The sensation is finally subsiding, after several glasses of pineapple Fanta and half a bag of Munchos.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Well, as far as I know it's not illegal to buy the things in a store -- whomever did the importing is probably the only culpable party here. Somebody find out for sure. If it's not illegal to do so, I'm certain an NJ eGulleter can be convinced to buy the entire inventory and do a mailing.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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It appears that the author of a customer review of Fuschia Dunlop's latest book was prophetic:

"The two mail-order sources listed in the appendix in the book for Sichuan Peppercorn turn out to be duds, as they themselves have had their inventories seized. So the aspiring home chef looking to replicate these dishes at home will have to find the Sichuan Peppercorn via illicit means.

Check out egullet.com for more information on this." [Emphasis mine.]

Customer Review of Fuschia Dunlop's "Land of Plenty"

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If you're in the NY Metro area, there are tons of Sichuan peppercorns sitting right on the shelf at Foodmart International in Tonnelle Plaza in North Bergen, NJ. They're on aisle 5, around knee level, near the various other bags of peppercorns. They're 99 cents per 4oz bag.

Purchased today:

sp.jpg

For those in NY area, who have successfully managed to purchase the purloined, or otherwise hard to find Sichuan peppercorns...be interested in making a purchase for a person such as me...stuck here in the hinterlands of Boise? Absolutely none to found here. :wacko:

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If you're in the NY Metro area, there are tons of Sichuan peppercorns sitting right on the shelf at Foodmart International in Tonnelle Plaza in North Bergen, NJ. They're on aisle 5, around knee level, near the various other bags of peppercorns. They're 99 cents per 4oz bag.

Purchased today:

how did i miss this.

please don't post anything important while i'm away from egullet ever again.

thank you.

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Hmmm, either Foodmart Int'l is openly flouting import laws or they are selling back stock from early 2002, which was I believe, the cut-off date that stores could prove existing inventories and sell legally. If the latter is the case, I'd be curious how these peppercorns rate as they would be at least 2 years old, if not older, factoring in harvesting, processing, and shipping.

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