Peruvian Pink Peppercorns Are In Season: How to Forage Them

Maybe you've seen this ornamental evergreen tree in your neighborhood, with its sweeping willow-like branches draped in reddish-pink berries.

But did you know these berries, when ripened in fall and winter, can be foraged and dried as pink peppercorns? (Yes, the same gourmet pink peppercorns you buy at the store.)

Learn how to identify the pink peppercorn tree and harvest its berries in the wild.


Look for branches with ripe pepper tree berries.

Cut off a segment of branch with a good amount of reddish-pink berries on it. They’re easy to find as they’re usually the clusters draping off the ends of the tree.


Dry the peppercorn berries.

Gently pull the fresh berries off the branches with your fingers. Sometimes I’m able to do this quickly by running my fingers firmly down a branch to strip off the berries.

Spread the berries out on a plate or cookie sheet, and leave them out on the counter to dry at room temperature.

Within a few days, the berries will fully dry and harden into peppercorns.

If your berries are dried in a sunny spot, the shell may become bleached as it shrinks around the seed to create the hard, wrinkled outer layer so familiar as peppercorns.

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