When my Mom first introduced me to one of her favorite seasonings, Trader Joe’s Flower Pepper, I’ll admit, I wasn’t overly enthused to try it. Despite my love of tossing flowers in salads or dousing them in sugar, I somehow wasn’t keen on the idea of grinding flowers into my food (go figure). But a few twist of the pepper mill later and my mind was changed. While it’s not a seasoning for everything (or everyone), it has become one of my favorite ways to spice up a salad, a dressing, a piece of fish, or even a poultry dish with just enough of a floral essence to completely change the dynamic of flavors in a totally subtle and effortless way. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s no longer carries their flower pepper, but, while plotting out the perfect mother’s day gift a few weeks ago, I stumbled on my old flower pepper bottle in my spice cabinet and realized just how easy it was to recreate this seasoning for my Mom (who had been desperately trying to hunt down any remaining bottles). Not only was it easy to make, but the flowers were so pretty and colorful to work with, and of course, call me biased, but nothing beats homemade!
DIY Flower Pepper
Peppercorns (I used a mix of black, green, and red)
An empty pepper mill
Measure out your ingredients using the estimated ratio of 4 parts pepper to 1 part flowers. My final recipe was about 1 cup peppercorns, 2 tablespoons of lavender, 1 1/2 tablespoons of calendula, and about 1 tablespoon of rose petals. I layered the ingredients in the pepper mill (it was a clear one from Ikea) for a prettier presentation (this looks nicer if you’re giving it as a gift). However, you can also just toss all the ingredients together. If you choose to layer the ingredients, simply be sure to shake the pepper mill a few times prior ti using.
This tastes great on salads (especially ones with fruit), mixed into goat cheese and then served with crackers, and on chicken and pork.
*If you have trouble finding dried flowers, I recommend checking your local health food stores as well as a place like Whole Foods. You can also order them online from stores like Amazon (although they tend to only come in larger amounts). For those of you in New York, I got my dried flowers at a shop in the East Village called Flower Power.