2. Freeze-drying provides the ultimate drying method - maintaining the full size, aroma and flavours of our Tasmanian WILD Mountain
Pepperberries. This method also maximises the retention of the berries 'red juice' (the anthocyanins) which can impart glorious
colour to some of your dishes. Our WILD pepper can be easily crushed and added to your hot or cold dishes. If you soak
the WILD peppers in water, vinegar or olive oil, the berries will rehydrate, making a perfect garnish for your dishes.
Our Pepper-Shop has
a range of pack-sizes available and lots of information on our packaging and product shelf-life
Drying. Drying the pepper berries to remove most of the water content (approximately 75% of the berry is water) results in a
product of high quality and a long shelf-life.
We use two different drying methods to provide quite different end uses:
1. Warm air drying of the fresh pepperberries at 37-40 degrees Celsius for 50-60 hours produce our dried Tasmanian
DEVIL Mountain Peppercorns suitable for your pepper grinder. The "heat" of the pepperberry (the polygodial) is somewhat concentrated
through this drying method as the berries are shrunken by the process to around 1/4th of their original size. There is some
loss of other volatiles and the red anthocyanins in Mountain Pepper dried this way.
Harvesting: Bronzewing Farm® Tasmanian Mountain Peppers are hand-harvested from
the farm between April and June every year.
Hand-harvesting is necessary because (a) the berries don't seem to want to drop off
naturally (in our greenhouses we can have last season's berries still on the plant when the current season's berries are developing),
and (b) it is important not to damage the new buds which develop in the centre of the whirl of berries. This growth habit is
called monopodial branching (see the adjacent photograph). Hand-harvesting is why Tasmanian Mountain Pepper is so expensive
- there are around 4,000 berries in 1 kg of Mountain Pepper Berries (and this only gives you around 250 g of dried Mountain Pepper...)
fresh pepperberries are graded to remove twigs and leaves but we typically leave the berry stems on those fruits where they haven't
fallen off during harvest. We do this, because they add an 'authentic' look to our "Devil" peppercorns. Also the stems
are just as 'hot' as the berries.
New shoots emerge from the centre of the whirl of berries - meaning you have to be careful not to damage buds during harvest.