Like many of the things that I find at Trader Joes, Flower Pepper was one that was short-lived. Shortly after discovering it (and subsequently falling in LOVE with it), they discontinued it. I was not about to live without my new-found pantry staple...so I set out to make my own.
I no longer even have plain peppercorns in my kitchen. My pepper mill is constantly full of flower pepper. Between that and sea salt, there's not much else I season with (well, maybe fish sauce).
This was my second Christmas making "Uncle Daisy's Organic Flower Pepper" as gifts for friends and family. (The story about "Uncle Daisy" will have to wait for another time, but let's just say, like the nickname Food Sheriff, it's another childhood story.) This year I had to make even more than last year, as the word has spread and I've got friends asking for larger bulk quantities this time around!
While pretty simple to actually make, there are a few pointers I would suggest for you making at home:
- Go organic. Flowers are known to have some pretty nasty chemicals sprayed on them. Take the time to search and find all organic ingredients. I've had good success using sources like Frontier Natural Products Co-Op and even found a lot of items on Amazon. C'mon people, just use google.
- Sort through the ingredients. Though the roses are the worst (I have not been able to find organic petals, only buds - and the buds won't run through the grinder), you may have twigs in the lavender or even small stones in the peppercorns.
- Think small...but not too small. Another lesson from last year, I found that large pieces of some of the petals (calendula in particular) will tend to get caught in the mill. Using either a food processor or one of those super-duper high speed blenders, give your ingredients a quick pulse to make the pieces smaller. But DO NOT grind them into dust. You may even want to sift out the smallest pieces prior to mixing it all together.
- Pepper burns. That's right, it burns! My first time around making flower pepper was a painful lesson. I rolled up my sleeves and mixed it by hand. Not only did it start burning and itching my skin, but I was sneezing like crazy! So be careful when mixing it up.
Here's my recipe - it yields a total of about 24 cups
- 5 pounds organic black peppercorns
- 4 cups organic lavender flowers
- 8 ounces organic rose buds (that weight is before sorting - it yields about 3 cups after sorting and pulverizing into smaller pieces)
- 1 ounce organic cornflower petals (about 1 cup after pulsing in the food processor)
- 1 ounce organic calendula petals (about 1 cup after pulsing in the food processor)
Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!