I got home late from work last Tuesday and didn't have time to take Snoutface (the dog) to the park before sunset. Instead, we went for a nice walk down the wide bikepath adjacent to the park. It's always a nice change to wander somewhere different; the view of the vineyard-covered hills was incredibly relaxing. We were moseying along and talking about our day (that is, my husband and I were talking- Snoutface was just sniffing things) when I spotted a group of trees I hadn't noticed before.
Just last month, there was a post at The Kitchn about foraging for pink pepper. I had never really given much thought to the pink orbs in a bottle of mixed peppercorns. It turns out they aren't pepper at all but a South American native in the genus Schinus (as opposed to Piper) that can be found as an invasive plant here in California. The tree along my path looked just like Schinus molle (Peruvian peppertree) so I gathered an impromptu harvest of peppers and a sprig of leaf to bring home for identification.
And the verdict? Yeehaw! It looks like I found myself several trees just bursting with pink peppercorns. I am taking a foraging class this weekend and will bring my samples for expert identification. Meanwhile, I am fairly confident with my amateur i.d., so I'm plotting a trip back to the trees soon to do some pink pepper picking!
Standard Foraging Disclaimer: Be careful and forage at your own risk. It's fun, yes, but let's not die over it, 'kay? Kay.