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It all began in 1968, when the United States Department of Agriculture instituted a blanket ban on citrus from China as possible carriers of citrus canker, a highly contagious bacterial disease that decimates citrus trees (but does not affect humans). The ban included Sichuan pepper, since the Zanthoxylum genus and its numerous edible species of Sichuan pepper are not actually in the pepper family but are a form of citrus. It was thought at the time that not just citrus seedlings or fresh fruit but also the dried seed pod of Sichuan pepper could spread citrus canker.
The ban was little-enforced until 2002. At that time, according to a USDA spokesperson in a 2004 New York Times article, the field manual for inspectors was updated and contraband hua jiao was prioritized. Spice shops and, particularly, ethnic markets were targeted for “interdiction,” as the agency calls it. That meant inspectors not only cracked down at the ports on incoming shipments from China, they cruised the aisles of Asian grocery stores looking for the little numbing spice and yanked it from the shelves.
Even more than other spices, endowed by evolution with defensive odors and tastes, Sichuan pepper seems designed not to be eaten. Once you get past the thorns, the taste of a fresh or freshly dried berry leaves your mouth, tongue, and lips buzzing and numb for several minutes. It is literally electric: The active ingredient, sanshool, causes a vibration on the lips measured at 50 hertz, the same frequency as the power grid in most parts of the world, according to a 2013 study at University College London.
originally posted by: Caver78
a reply to: seeker1963
Yeah apparently most people are more familiar with the Red Sichuan Pepper cause it's more commonly used.
In my self admitted ignorance I chose the green cause I was hoping it'd be easier to work with an not as three alarm hot.
All this started in an effort to eat less like a teenager an branch out into something healthier.
Since take-out isn't an option an time & energy is limited I decided to go Asian/Korean/Chinese for my first baby-steps
in this adventure.
Have to say my first effort by cooking white sweet potato cubes in Miso broth was stunningly good.
With sautéed Napa cabbage & onion chunks over rice it was a very decent dinner.
I know I'm a total beginner, so don't laugh TOO hard!!!