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The Timut pepper or Nepal pepper is another case in which the word pepper is used only for convenience because it has little or nothing to do with that spice, it is closely related to Sichuan pepper. It has a particular aroma with citrus notes (after all, the plant is a distant relative of lemon) and just like Sichuan pepper (there are also those who call it the Nepalese variant of the aforementioned) it has the characteristic of causing a sense of tingling or of slight momentary numbness of the tongue.

The plant and the fruit

Timut pepper is obtained from the berries of a plant of the Rutaceae family called Zanthoxylum armatum, one of the 250 species of the genus Zanthoxylum.

It can be presented as a deciduous thorny bush that can grow up to 3.5 meters or as a tree that can reach 6. The berries are attached to small branches and are easily picked by hand. The plant loves altitude (after all, if it grows in Nepal) but no more than 3100 meters and tolerates arid soils well.

How to get Timut pepper

Unlike other types of pepper or false pepper, Timut pepper is not grown in an organized form in plantations but harvested from wild plants by the local population and is made up only of the peel , ie the capsule of the fruit, the black seeds inside are tasteless and are eliminated. The small fruits that are reddish brown when ripe are left to dry in the sun and continuously turned over until they are ready for use.

Place of origin and uses of Timut pepper

Zanthoxylum has always been widespread in a good part of Asia and the Indian subcontinent, we have already mentioned the Sichuan pepper (Sichuan is a province in southwestern China) but the The list of Chinese provinces where it is widespread has a dozen items scattered throughout the country, but it is also found in Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines ... Depending on the regions, different parts of the plant are used for different purposes, in addition to their use some fruits such as spices, the bark and the same fruits, for example, are used in the traditional medicine of India, Nepal and Thailand. Wartara Oil is also an essential oil from the plant. It is also used as an ornamental plant.

Properties of Nepal pepper

Even if we have said that this is a completely different plant from pepper itself, the same thing as for other spices similar to pepper applies to Timut pepper too, talking about nutritional values it is not worth it because minimal quantities of spices are consumed, as regards the properties attributed by traditional medicine also in this case we mention bactericidal, fungicidal and diuretic action among those that find some confirmation in the knowledge modern science. Among those not confirmed by modern science: in Nepal it is also used to treat the stomach and spleen. A peculiarity of Timut pepper is instead, the anesthetizing action, in reality this has also been attributed to traditional pepper, but that of Timut pepper is particularly pronounced and is connected to the sensation of tingling and falling asleep to which we have mentioned and which is he also experiments in the alimentary use of the spice. Therefore, Nepal pepper can also be used in case of toothache and inflammation in the mouth, but only as a symptomatic, it is not a remedy at all, so only waiting for a visit to the dentist.

Timut's pepper curiosity

We announced the botanical relationship with lemon, in the USA it was forbidden to import it from 1968 to 2005 because of the risk of transmitting a disease to lemons and even after the end of Prohibition parts of the plant imported into the USA must be sterilized.

Timut pepper should not be ground but only pounded in a mortar.

Timut pepper can be used in cocktails and in particular in gin and tonic, in Italy there is a distillery that produces a Gin Timut.

Timut's pepper in the kitchen

This spice is slightly spicy, so it is good for those looking for a delicate alternative to pepper, it is also very aromatic, in particular citrus notes reminiscent of grapefruit stand out or the passion fruit and given what we have written in the previous paragraphs on a distant relationship with the lemon it is not so surprising.


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