Sansho Japanese Pepper, Whole or Ground
The unripened seedpods of the Japanese prickly ash (Zanthoxylum piperitum), these little green fireballs really pack a punch! Hand-harvested in Japan’s Kochi Prefecture and quickly air-freighted to The Spice House, they have a sharp, citrusy taste, with an electrifying tingling numbness that can linger for more than ten minutes. Related to Sichuan peppercorns, but far stronger and more numbing, sansho is used in Asian cuisines to add dimension to broths and sauces for fish, pork and vegetable dishes. It’s a common seasoning for chicken yakitori and broiled eel. Food science writer Harold McGee wrote: "they produce a strange, tingling, buzzing, numbing sensation that is something like … a mild electrical current. Sanshools appear to act on several different kinds of nerve endings at once, induce sensitivity to touch and cold in nerves that are ordinarily nonsensitive, [causing] a kind of general neurological confusion." Sold as whole seedpods or powdered.