Zanthoxylum piperitum, also known as Japanese pepper, Japanese prickly-ash, or Korean pepper, is a deciduous aromatic spiny shrub or small tree of the citrus and rue family Rutaceae, native to Japan and Korea.
It is called sanshō (山椒), and chopi (초피) in Korea. Both the leaves and fruits (peppercorns) are used as an aromatic and flavoring in these countries. It is closely related to the Chinese Szechuan peppers, which come from plants of the same genus.
"Japanese pepper" Z. piperitum is called sanshō (山椒, "mountain pepper") in Japan, but the corresponding cognate term in Korean, sancho (산초) refers to a different species, or Z. schinifolium[a] known as inuzanshō or "dog sansho" in Japan.
The tree blooms in April to May, forming axillary flower clusters, about 5mm, and yellow-green in color. It is dioecious, and the flowers of the male plant can be consumed as hana-sanshō, while the female flowers yield berries or peppercorns of about 5mm. In autumn, these berries ripen, turning scarlet and burst, scattering the black seeds within.
In Japan, Wakayama Prefecture boasts 80% of domestic production. Aridagawa, Wakayama produces a specialty variety called budō sanshō ("grape sansho"), which bears large fruits and clusters, rather like a bunch of grapes. The thornless variety, Asakura sansho, derives its name from its place of origin, the Asakura district in the now defunct Yokacho [ja], integrated into Yabu, Hyōgo.
The pulverized mature fruits ("peppercorns" or "berries") known as "Japanese pepper" or kona-zanshō (粉ざんしょう) are the standard spice for sprinkling on the kabayaki-unagi (broiled eel) dish. It is also one of the seven main ingredients of the blended spice called shichimi, which also contains red chili peppers. Finely ground Japanese pepper, kona-zanshō, is nowadays usually sold in sealed packets, and individual serving sizes are included inside heat-and-serve broiled eel packages.
Young leaves and shoots, pronounced ki-no-mé or ko-no-mé (木の芽, lit. 'tree bud') herald the spring season, and often garnish grilled fish and soups. They have a distinctive flavor which is not to the liking of everyone. It is a customary ritual to put a leaf between cupped hands, and clap the hands with a popping sound, this supposedly serving to bring out the aroma. The young leaves are crushed and blended with miso using suribachi (mortar) to make a paste, a pesto sauce of sorts, and then used to make various aemono (tossed salad). The stereotypical main ingredient for the resultant kinome-ae is the fresh harvest of bamboo shoots, but the sauce may be tossed (or delicately "folded") into sashimi, clams, squid or other vegetable such as tara-no-me (angelica-tree shoots).
The immature green berries are called ao-zanshō (lit. 'green sansho'), and these may be blanched and salted, or simmered using soy sauce into dark-brown tsukudani, which is eaten as condiment. The berries are also available as shoyu-zuke, which is just steeped in soy sauce. The berries are also cooked with small fry fish and flavored with soy sauce (chirimen jako [ja]), a specialty item of Kyoto, since its Mount Kurama outskirts is a renowned growing area of the plant.
In central and northeastern Japan, there is also non-sticky rice-cake type confection called goheimochi, which is basted with miso-based paste and grilled, sometimes uses the Japanese pepper as flavor additive to the miso. Also being marketed are sansho flavored arare (rice crackers), snack foods, and sweet sansho-mochi.
Both the plant itself and its fruit (or peppercorn), known as chopi (초피), are called by many names including jepi (제피), jenpi (젠피), jipi (지피), and jopi (조피) in different dialects used in southern parts of Korea, where the plant is extensively cultivated and consumed.
Young leaves of the plant, called chopi-sun (초피순), are used as a culinary herb or a namul vegetable in Southern Korean cuisine. The leaves are also eaten pickled as jangajji, pan-fried to make buchimgae (pancake), or deep-fried as fritters such as twigak and bugak. Sometimes, chopi leaves are added to anchovy-salt mixture to make herbed fish sauce, called chopi-aekjeot.
In Japan, the thick wood of the tree is traditionally made into a gnarled and rough-hewn wooden pestle (surikogi), to use with suribachi. There is some snob value associated with owning such a pestle.
In Japanese pharmaceuticals, the mature husks with seeds removed are considered the crude medicine form of sanshō. It is an ingredient in bitter tincture [ja], and the toso wine served ceremonially. The pungent taste derives from sanshool and sanshoamide. It also contains aromatic oils geraniol, dipentene, citral, etc.
- Sichuan pepper
- Z. beecheyanum - iwa-zanshō, hire-zanshō; Okinawan dialect: sensuru-gii
- Z. schinifolium - inu-zanshō
- Z. armatum var. subtrifoliatum - fuyuzanshō
- Wiersema, John H.; León, Blanca (1999). World Economic Plants: A Standard Reference. CRC Press. p. 636. ISBN 978-0-849-32119-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Ravindran (2017), p. 473.
- Staples, George; Kristiansen, Michael S. (1999). Ethnic Culinary Herbs: A Guide to Identification and Cultivation in Hawaiʻi. University of Hawaii Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-824-82094-7.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Korea National Arboretum (2015). English Names For Korean Native Plants 한반도 자생식물 영어이름 목록집. Pocheon. pp. 683–684. ISBN 978-8-997-45098-5.; PDF file via Korea Forest Service
- Honda, M. (1932), "Nuntia ad Floram Japoniae XVIII", Shokubutsugaku Zasshi, 46 (550): 633, doi:10.15281/jplantres1887.46.633
- Walton, Stuart (2018). "5 Blazing a Trail―chili's journey through Asia and Africa". The Devil's Dinner: A Gastronomic and Cultural History of Chili Peppers. St. Martin's. pp. 104–121. ISBN 978-1-250-16321-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- American Joint Committee on Horticultural Nomenclature (1923). Standardized Plant Names: A Catalogue of Approved Scientific and Common Names of Plants in American Commerce. The Committee. p. 535.
- Kato, Nobuhide (1945), Herbs used in Nortern Japan, 39, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, pp. 52–53
- Kimura et al. (1996), p. 82.
- "Sanshō さん‐しょう【山椒】", Kojien, 4th ed., 1991.
- Okuyama, Haruki (1969) . "Sanshō" さんしょう. Sekai hyakka jiten. 9. pp. 698–9.
- Montreal Horticultural Society and Fruit Growers' Association of the Province of Quebec (1876). First Report of the Fruit Committee. Montreal: Witness Printing House. p. 25.
- Okada, Minoruえｗ (1998). "Wakanyaku no senpin nijū: sanshō no senpin" 和漢薬の選品20：山椒の選品. Gekkan kanpō ryōhō. 2 (8): 641–645.
- Makihara, Naomi (1983). "Spices and Herbs Used in Japanese Cooking". Plants & Gardens. 39: 52.
- Ravindran (2017), p. 474.
- Gordh, Gordon (2011). Citrus Butterfly. A Dictionary of Entomology. David Headrick. CAB International. p. 308. ISBN 978-1-845-93542-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- prefectural website:"Wakayama ichban (2) budō sanshō" 和歌山一番②ぶどう山椒 ｜website=Wakayama Prefecture. Kenmin no tomo. August 2009. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
- Ravindran (2017), p. 476.
- Andoh & Beisch (2005), p. 47.
- Shimbo (2001), p. 261 uses this same metaphor.
- Shimbo (2001), pp. 261–, "Bamboo shoots tossed with aromatic sansho leaves (takenoko no kinome-ae)"
- Ravindran (2017), p. 475.
- "Goheimochi no tsukurikata" 五平餅の作り方. Toyota Goheimochi Gakkai. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- Rural Culture Association Japan (2006). Denshō shashinkan Nihon no shokubunka 4: Koshūestsu 伝承写真館日本の食文化 5 甲信越. Rural Culture Association Japan. p. 13.
- "Kyō sanshō arare" 京山椒あられ. Ogura Sanso. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "山椒あられ". Shichimiya honpo. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "Mishō-ya no Sansho senbei" 実生屋の山椒餅. Sagawa Kurogane no kai. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- "Mochi rui" 餅類. Tawaraya Yoshitomi. Archived from the original on 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2011-01-30.
- 박, 선홍 (22 September 2011). "음식 잡냄새 잡고 들쥐 쫓아주는 매콤한 향" [Spicy aroma that deodorizes food and drives out harvest mice]. Chungcheong Today (in Korean). Retrieved 26 December 2016.
- Hsu, Hong-Yen (1986). Oriental materia médica: a concise guide. Oriental Healing Arts Institute. p. 382. ISBN 9780941942225., "..citral, citronellal, dipentene; (+)-phellandrene, geraniol;(2)pungent substances: sanshool I (a-sanshool), sanshoamide"
- Andoh, Elizabeth; Beisch, Leigh (2005). Washoku: recipes from the Japanese home kitchen. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-580-08519-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Kimura, Takeatsu; But, Paul P. H.; Guo, Ji-Xian; Sung, Chung-Ki (1996). International Collation of Traditional and Folk Medicine: Northeast Asia. World Scientific. p. 82. ISBN 978-9-810-22589-6.
- Shimbo, Hiroko (2001). The Japanese kitchen: 250 recipes in a traditional spirit. Harvard Common Press. ISBN 978-1-558-32177-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Ravindran, P. N. (2017). 100 Japanese Pepper Zanthoxylum piperitum. The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Spices. CAB International. pp. 473–476. ISBN 978-1-780-64315-1.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)