Fagara: this spice is known by many names – Sichuan pepper, Szechuan pepper, anise pepper, Chinese fagara, flower pepper, pepper – but is in no way related to the black and white pepper with which we are familiar. Many species of Fagara have been used in the cuisine and healing arts of China, India and Japan for centuries, the Szechuan species is considered the best.
The densely growing shrub of flowering pepper (Chinese species of yellowwood tree), armed with thorns, thrives in dry areas of temperate zones. It flowers for the first time after about four years and subsequently produces an annual yield of 8 to 10 kilograms of pepper fruit for about fifteen years. The berries are harvested in autumn.
Fagara are the reddish-brown dried berries, they are dried in the sun until the capsules open to reveal the black seeds. The seeds are sieved out and the capsules enter the market as flower peppercorns. The essential oils of the capsules spread a strong aroma. The dried reddish-brown whole berries are about 4 to 5 mm long, rough and spiny on the outside.
Loose black seeds and seeds from inside the berries should be discarded: they are very bitter.
Blossom pepper oil can be pressed from the seeds.
Together with chilies, flower pepper forms the basic spice for a number of hot dishes or for steamed fish specialties and pickled vegetables, Fagara is an important ingredient in the five-spice p