They’ve sidestepped the frosts and a good first-year munching from the deer (who like the young shoots but not once the plant gets a little woodier as it grows) and the first handful of Japanese pepper is jarred

For the most part it’s the leaves are used in Japanese cooking, the peppercorns are a fair bit pokier and the gentler, subtle leaves seem to suit classic Japanese food. But i love the peppercorns – they’re more aromatic than a wham in-your-face heat, although they do have (strangely) a weird undercurrent of white chocolate

No apricots, a few quince, a fantastic haul of Devonshire Quarrenden apples and a bag or two of medlars are pretty much it in this wet, cool year, until these peppercorns ripened nicely

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