Pepperberry, also known as Mountain Pepper, is an evergreen shrub often used as a culinary spice. It can be found in Aboriginal cuisine as a food flavouring, as well as in traditional medicine as a treatment for skin disorders, venereal diseases, colic and stomach ache.
It is native to the woodlands and cool temperate rainforests of Australia’s south-eastern region. In the Spring, Pepperberry produces small yellow or creamy white flowers that turn into red pepper berries over the Autumn season if both male and female plants are present. These berries eventually turn black when they ripen. Both leaves and berries may be used fresh or dried to add a spicy, peppery flavour to curries, cheese, salad dressings and sauces. Flowers may be enjoyed fresh in salads, or as a pretty, peppery garnish for a variety of sweet and savoury dishes.
Dried berries make a pungent native substitute for black pepper. They may be kept fresh for longer in the freezer.