Sansho powder - Sanshō no kona
Sansho powder - Sanshō no kona
This finely ground, light green sanshō or sansho pepper - sanshō-no-kona or 七味唐辛子 - is of superior quality. It is ground in the authentic way using a millstone in the Kaneichi family business.
News! In recent weeks we have sold our last sansho-no-kona of the 2022 season. Normally the 2023 harvest would now come in, but unfortunately. No new supply from Japan is expected in the short term.
Kaneichi has been producing and processing sanshō, the Japanese pepper, since the late nineteenth century. Grinding is traditionally done in successive passes, from coarse to (very) fine.
Sanshō is related to the Chinese Sichuan pepper and the Nepalese timur, but unlike these two brothers or sisters from the Yellowwood genus (Zanthoxylum), the leaves, flowers and shoots of the sanshō tree are also eaten. Sanshō, by the way, means mountain pepper.
Sanshō pepper has been used as a spice for thousands of years, one suspects, because there is no conclusive evidence for this. It was called naruhajika during the Nara era in the 8th century, and used as a medicine to treat diarrhea. It would be used primarily as a medicine for a long time to come. Only in the Kamakura era (1185 to 1333 AD) would it be used again by the samurai as a spice during hunting. Dating from that period is unagi, a dish of freshwater eel with sanshō pepper.
It is now a prominent spice, even one of the few spices in Japanese cuisine. The unripe green berries are called sanshō-no-mi. These are sharper and more aromatic than the red sansho. The first green sanshōs appear on the market from May, the red ones in October. Sansho powder is therefore made in the summer months.
One of the first preparations with sanshō ever was described in the Okusa cookbook from the 15th century. An eel dish, sprinkled with very finely ground sanshō. Since then, eel in Japan has always been prepared with sanshō or, in extreme cases, with shichimi tõgarashi (seven spice powder).
Our sanshō pepper is cultivated - not wild - and comes from Wakayama, the beating sanshō heart of Japan since the late 19th century. They are built by the fourth generation of the Kaneichi family business, which was founded in 1880 by Yamamoto Katsunosuke, and is considered the best 'house'. The seeds are removed before grinding, hence the beautiful green color.
The unique sharpness experience of sanshol
Characteristic of all Zanthoxylum peppers, and therefore also of sanshō, is the tingling you experience on the tip of your tongue due to a substance in the pepper called sanshool, named after the Japanese spice. The pungency is caused by the amides in the peel of the fruit: α-, β-, γ- and δ-sanshool, α hidroxy sanshool and β-hidroxy sanshool. γ sanshool and α hidroxy sanshool are mainly responsible for the anesthetic effect. The amount of α-hidroxy-sanshool in the berries can amount to (more than) 50 ‰ of the dry weight, of γ sanshool around 5 ‰.
The tingling is accompanied by a slight numbness, jokingly compared to tasting a 9 volt battery. One single berry is enough to experience that! This somatosensation, stimulation by touch, has been used as an anesthetic in traditional medicine in Asia for centuries. The effect is very complex and the subject of extensive studies. Hydroxy-α-sanshol in particular is said to cause the tingling, and there are certain parallels with the pungency sensation of capsaicin, the pungent substance in chili peppers, but also with menthol and mustard oil.
Smell and taste
Sanshō is a relative of citrus, which you experience in a scent that is a mixture of grapefruit, lemon, sereh and rosewood. In between you taste and smell - very slightly - mint. Characteristic of all Zanthoxylum peppers, and therefore also of sanshō, is the tingling sensation you experience on the tip of your tongue due to a substance in the pepper called sanshool, named after the Japanese spice.
- linalyl acetate, responsible for a pleasant citrus, bergamot and lavender scent,
- limonene, the smell of lemon peel,
- citral, the scent of grapefruit,
- geraniol, rose scent,
- geranyl acetate, lavender scent.
- β-pinene, pine resin, and
- linalol, responsible for the scents of rosewood and coriander
A ripe berry contains considerably more linalol, geraniol and geranyl acetate than a green berry. The aromas develop during maturation,
Ground sanshō pepper combines excellently with citrus (kafir leaf, yuzu or sereh), chocolate (dessert), mango and strawberry. Be sure to try it with fish tartare, squid, eel of course (unagi) and shells (scallops), but also with yakitori (grilled chicken), beef tartare and carpaccio. Do you make your own mayonnaise? Add some sansho powder to it. It makes him even richer. Delicious with smoked dishes, from sausages to salmon (danobe), with fried chicken and as a dip for (raw) vegetables. If you don't make your own mayonnaise, try Japanese Kewpie instead.
Mixed with salt, sanshō no kona is also an excellent seasoning for tempura.
- 100% unripe fruit of Zanthoxylum piperitum (sanshō)
- sharpened using millstone
- origin: Wakayama, Japan
Assortment - subject to change -
- available in glass and stand-up pouch
- glass jar contains 60 grams
- stand-up pouches with a capacity of up to 15 to 150 grams
- larger quantities on request
- the jar is available in a tasteful gift packaging, consisting of a cube box filled with black tissue paper
- for an overview of our gift packaging, please refer to the gift packaging section
- sanshō powder is a product for the refined kitchen, can be used both cold and hot in savory and sweet preparations
- do not cook the powder, it will lose its wonderful taste
- store your sansho powder in closed packaging
- preferably store in a dark, dry and cool place
- best before June 2024 (06/24)
- this expiration date is an indication
Due to serious delivery problems, our stock is (almost) exhausted. We are currently waiting for positive news from Japan. If you would like to be kept informed, please let us know.