The first thing to say about pink pepper is that it is not pepper. That is, it does not come from the same plant that black, white and green pepper come from. It is a plant that is native to another continent and which as a botanical classification is not even part of the same family. Its fruits, however, are very reminiscent of the berries of the common pepper.

The plant and the fruit

Pink pepper is the fruit of Schinus molle . An evergreen tree of the Anacardiaceae family. The tree usually reaches a size between 5 and 7 meters. The tree is also appreciated for its aesthetic characteristics, it has branches sloping down to the ground reminiscent of those of the willow. The bunches of the berries are harvested ripe when they take on a deep pink color.

Place of origin and cultivation

Place of origin of Schinus molle are the highlands of Bolivia, Peru, Chile. In reality it is also found at sea level, but never on the coast. This applies to the place of origin, South America, but the tree has been spread all over the world both for the wood (the very robust wood is particularly appreciated for making saddles) and for the production of the spice. It is also appreciated as an ornamental tree, being as we said an evergreen that resembles the willow due to its branches sloping to the ground, it also resists drought well. The latter feature (resistance) that has made it an extremely infesting plant in many places where it has been introduced.

Properties and nutritional characteristics of pink pepper

Talking about nutritional characteristics with regard to spices doesn't make much sense, not because they don't have any, but because the quantities that can be used in the kitchen are not very significant from the point of metabolic view. From the point of view of the beneficial characteristics attributed, it is necessary to distinguish between traditional medicine and what has been proven by scientific studies. According to traditional medicine, pink pepper has diuretic, digestive, antiseptic properties and would be effective against toothache and menstrual pain. Probably this is true with regard to the first two, but precisely because it has an irritating action, so of course it could help digestion by increasing acidity, but if you have problems with reflux, ulcers, gastritis etc. better to keep away from them. Ditto if you suffer from hemorrhoids. Scientific studies: the plant is extensively studied, there are dozens of them, investigating on the one hand its antifungal and antimicrobial properties and on the other its toxicity, because for example, for the American FDA, pink pepper would not be a completely safe food. The results have not always confirmed the claims of traditional medicine but certainly some effects are real, for example the use as a repellent of the house fly that is made in Ethiopia has been confirmed in the laboratory, while the alleged antidepressant activity has so far only been found in mice.

Pink pepper curiosity

Do you know that possession of a pink pepper plant in Florida could send you to jail? Maybe not in prison, but a good report with a safe fine. We had mentioned above that the plant in some places where it was introduced has become a weed, in Florida, as in other places, it was often planted in front of the schools, the matter must have gotten out of hand if they arrived at such a clear-cut measure, you will say you. In fact, it seems that entire areas of the Eveglades, the famous swampy areas of Florida, are infested with the pink pepper tree.

In Chile pink pepper is used to flavor wine .

In Mexico pink pepper is used in the preparation of pulque an ancient alcoholic beverage and considered sacred.

Pink pepper is sensitive to heat , for this reason it should always be added to the latter when cooking or it will lose its flavor.

Pink pepper in the kitchen

Although it is obtained from a plant that, as we have seen, is not even part of the same family as the one from which the pepper is obtained (so much so that pink pepper is also called false Peruvian pepper ) the flavor is not very different from that of pepper, but it is more delicate and has a fruity note (according to someone who remembers the aroma of lemon). For these reasons, pink pepper is appreciated in sophisticated recipes, in which it must not dominate the flavor of fine ingredients. In the kitchen you also know the eye is emptyits part and therefore also the chromatic component it adds has its weight. Due to its delicacy and fruity note it is also used in sweet dishes. We have chosen a simple vegan recipe to which pink pepper gives an extra pinch of color and flavor.

Wholemeal spaghetti with avocado cream and crispy chickpeas

Ingredients for 4 people

  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti 320 gr
  • Avocado 460 gr
  • Lime juice 30 gr
  • Extra virgin olive oil 20 gr
  • Salt up to 1 pinch
  • Chives 8 gr
  • Precooked chickpeas 250 gr
  • 00 flour 10 gr
  • Extra virgin olive oil 10 gr
  • Salt up to 1 pinch
  • Pink pepper to taste


1) Dry the chickpeas well with kitchen paper

2) Put them in a bowl and add the flour.

3) Mix well to flour them evenly.

4) Put the chickpeas in a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

5) Bake at 170 ° for 20 minutes, until golden and crunchy.

6) Place the chickpeas in a tightly knitted colander and shake so as to make the chickpeas lose the excess flour.

7) Transfer them to a small bowl and season with oil, salt, ground pink pepper and lime zest.

8) Mix and keep warm.

9) Cook the pasta and in the meantime prepare the avocado cream:

10) cut the fruit in half lengthwise and remove the core.

11) Collect the avocado pulp with a spoon and put it in a bowl.

12) Season with oil and salt.

13) Cut the lime in half and squeeze it to make the juice.

14) Pour the lime juice into the bowl together with the avocado and blend into a fine cream with an immersion blender.

15) Lastly, add the chives to the cream, cut into slices with a pair of kitchen scissors.

16) Drain the pasta (which should be ready in the meantime) and place it in a large bowl.

1 7) Add a drizzle of oil (only if necessary)

18) Combine the avocado cream, stirring immediately so that the paste does not stick.

19) Serve the spaghetti and complete each dish with crispy chickpeas.

Recipe source:


Data sheet


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