Pepperberries are more versatile than conventional peppercorn, able to be used in sweet and savoury dishes. The leaves, stems and berries have an aromatic peppery taste producing approx. 3 times the anti-oxidants of blueberries. Native birds, such as the Black Currawong, eat the berries.
Tasmannia lanceolata is usually a compact 2 metre bushy shrub but can grow to 10 metres tall. Leaf stalks and young stems are red; its leaves are hairless, green, thick, and elliptical in shape.
Plants are either male or female, with sexually-distinct flowers found in umbels at the base of the new season’s growth. Both sexes have tiny cream-coloured flowers with narrow oblanceolate petals. The male flower has many stamens; the female flower has 2-lobed ovary. Flowering occurs in mid-Spring in the southern hemisphere (October-November). The ripened fruit (March-June) is a pea-sized 2-lobed lustrous deep-purple, almost black, berry with many small angular seeds.
Lemon myrtle and pepperberries (ground) make the best seasoning for fish, chips, chicken and roast vegetables.
Mountain Pepper plants feature heavily in indigenous traditional uses, both in cooking and medicinally. Mountain Pepperleaf and its berries are now being cultivated in plantations across the cooler parts of Australia.
Although Native Pepperberry can be used in the same way as conventional pepper, it has an added herbal dimension, particularly towards the end of the palate. The dark Pepperberries also infuse a rich plum color to sauces. The Mountain Pepperleaf has a more subtle, organic herbal flavour than the berry and is ideal where the intensity of the pepperberry is too dominant.
Pepperberries have a mild, fruity pepper flavour. For something different use it ground in icecream.
Pepperberries will bleed a soft pink colour into marinades or pickle solutions, pale sauces and yoghurt.
Use it for preparing savouries and soups, vinaigrettes, ice cream jellies, candy, pasta, and game, etc.