Trader Joe’s Flower Pepper

Trader Joe's Flower Pepper

Mayhem.

Whoa-ho-ho, now you’re talking Trader Joe – a product so seemingly mad that I would never have dreamed of its existence.

Pepper – and FLOWERS?!? This is already well beyond the range of even the craziest food mash ups I’ve ever heard of. I mean, we’re talking about a food mashed up with a decidedly non-food product. That I’ve got to respect. Let’s just look at the ingredients: Black Peppercorn (natch), Rose Petals, Calendula, Lavender, Cornflower. I don’t even know what calendula is.

I’ll be honest; this is exactly the sort of product I go to Trader Joe’s every week hoping to find. Something so outlandish that no sane buyer could ever be expected to purchase it, yet marketed right next to the brownie mix. This is where I, Trader Joe’s Taste Tester, come in – give me the goddamn desiccated flowers, I’m ready to rock.

But first, a digression.

I am amazingly slow to learn, but a few lessons have slowly crept their way into my brain over the last 28 years, and one is that product mash ups which sound like they may be terrible almost invariably are. Case in point: the Red Eye (1/2 tomato juice, ½ beer) and the Ditka Burger (peanut butter on a hamburger). I tend to assume, over and over, that these concoctions are only being sold because a gauntlet of testers have engineered the flavors to magically fuse into a symphony of taste. I have come to appreciate that this assumption may be a bit naïve, and the real source of these products are just bored gluttons and drunks. Hope springs eternal however, and the very few big wins (Salt and Vinegar?!? On a chip?!!) continue to spurn me on to self-abuse.

So, flowers in pepper – what’s up with that? I gave my flower pepper a try in two big ways – ala garden salad and ala some chicken breast I had lying around. Both delighted me. I don’t want to get onto a whole digression on pepper here, so let’s suffice to say that a little pepper brings out flavor and a lot of pepper chokes you with it’s fire. We know these things – we are not fools. What flower pepper brings to the table is a moderation of both ends of the equation – for the better. The hints of flower petals are far less subtle than I would have guessed – even in a small quantity over a large salad they lent a distinguishable, pervasive flavor that never got to heavy or clashed with my veggies and dressing. It enhanced goddammit, it went in there and did what it was supposed to do, then it went and brought a whole new herbal flavor to the mix. (Loving my italics right now, by the way. Lovin’ them.)

The chicken went down plain, save for a dusting of the titular spice, and I’m happy to say the flowers seemed to dial back the more peppery part of the pepper – retaining the bite while losing the fangs, if that makes any sense.

While I’m sure flower pepper can’t substitute for ordinary blackcorn pepper in every instance, there’s no real need for it to. I can easily imagine keeping a happy larder with both peppers side by side, taking on all comers. The only criticism I have is a weak one, that due to the pervasive use of floral scents in household cleaners it could be said that the pepper tastes how soap smells. There’s nothing unpleasant about it, tastewise, but the conditioning against eating cleaning products is so strong you might find you have to mentally push past it.

Would I recommend it: To try, at the very least.

Would I buy it again: I think I will, when I eventually run out.

Final Synopsis: A rare win for Team Strange Food Mash-ups!

Trader Joe's Flower Pepper Ingredients

About these ads

35 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Flower Pepper”

  1. [...] in the very same pepper mill / pepper grinder doohickey you’re already selling your sea salt and flower pepper in? A prelimary whiff of the unopened container imparted the strong smoky musk of a dying campfire. [...]

  2. [...] 95% of the time. Surely I could live with that, right? I was fooling myself, of course, as I said before the unknown allure of seemingly insane couplings holds an irresitable draw for me. Here it is, the [...]

  3. bmccarren says:

    Yeah, I love this stuff. I have eaten ‘peppery’ flowers like nasturtium in salad for many, many years so this is a genius solution. I grind it all over goat cheese toasts too, and it is exquisite. I put it in stews for an added flavor dimension and also on almost anything I top with creme fraiche (like steamed baby potatoes).

  4. I bought mine for much the same reason you bought yours, used it for the first time tonight. I put a lcouple cloves of garlic and a few leaves fresh basil in the bottom of my steamer basket, threw some haricots verts on top and let them steam up. Then I added a healthy sprinkling of flower pepper and a drizzle of balsamic. Delicious! My husband loved them enough to ask how I made them.

  5. Lynda says:

    What galls me is that Flower Pepper is another name for Sichuan Pepper, a wholly different plant and has nothing to do with black pepper or the flowers that have been added. This feels like they completely missed the boat…

  6. sudhra says:

    My darlin’ girlfriend sent me some for Christmas. It’s almost like a drug. I love it. I put it on just about everything. I’m cooking some rice at the moment and I cracked some in the rice cooker hoping to infuse the rice with the

  7. Debbie says:

    Well, sad to say that now that I am completly hooked on Flower Pepper, they no longer carry it at Trader Joe’s. Sadly, I’m almost out and when in Trader Joe’s tonight, found out that they no longer carry it. I am a serious pepper fiend and am very upset. Does anyone know where I can get some? Thanks, Debbie

    • Joe Jakson says:

      Hi Debbie,
      Yep- I went to a Trader Joe’s yesterday, and the manager told me the same thing. But, there might be some hope. He said the Flower Pepper tends to be seasonal- especially at the Christmas holiday. The downer was that he said the Flower Pepper didn’t do good on it’s trial when initially sold at thye TJ stores. So…that latter aside, I am going on the prowl for it around the Christmas holiday! OH! Go to Amazon.com and add yourself to the waiting list for when it supposedly becomes avail via Amazon. There is even a gift pack of 4 diff seasoning that look delic to include the Flower Pepper. Now, the wait begins! :) Cheers to Flower Power!

      • Debbie says:

        Thanks Joe! I am going to stalk the local Trader Joe’s aount the holiday’s for flower pepper
        then buy all of it, so I have enough to last until next Christmas. I also went to Amazon and made a wish list for it. Debbie

      • Carolyn says:

        My TJs told me to go to the website and let them know we want it back. I’ve gotten everyone in my family hooked on it and we’re all bummed out.

      • carrie says:

        Lola Tortola will have flower pepper soon!

      • Debbie says:

        I would love to know- what and where is Lola Tortola? How would I go about getting some flower pepper? Thanks, Debbie

  8. Ed Swafford says:

    It was discontinued in March 2012, bought 6 . Now only 2 left. BUMMER

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Ed,

      Wanna sell one of the reamaining two? Kidding! I wish that I had known that they were not going to carry it anymore and I would have bought all that they had- from both stores in town!
      I suggested to Janis that if you go to their website and complain, they might bring it back. I was told that in an email from Trader Joes. Thanks, Debbie

  9. Janis Stoker says:

    I was very unhappy to discover that Trader Joe’s discontinued the Flower Pepper as well. I confirmed it with management and tried a couple of locations to see if any was left on the shelf, but no luck. This is the second time in the recent past that TJ’s has discontinued a product that I love without notice. You would think they would announce something like this in their newsletter and give people a last time buy opportunity. I’m thoroughly disgruntled with them.

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Janis, I did the same thing- called around different stores to see if any ot them had any in stock. I even asked my mom who lives in Oregon to check the store in Eugene, but they had
      none left either. I then emailed Trader Joes who told me that all stock is now gone. How could all of the stores run out of stock around the same time? You would think that some stock could be SOMEWHERE but no. Can I ask you to go to their website and make a suggestion to have it brought back? I was told that if enought people want it brought back, they will do so. It’s the best pepper ever. Do you know of any other stores that carry something sililar?
      Thanks, Debbie

      • Joe Jakson says:

        “Grandma Lu’s Sichuan Seasoning,” by Grandma Lu’s avail on Amazon.com It’s not exactly the same thing as the TJ’s Flower Pepper, but close enough, and IMHO a bit better.

      • Debbie says:

        Thanks, I’m going to try Grandma Lu’s too! Debbie

      • Joe Jakson says:

        Hi Debbie

        I will definitely complain on their website. I, too, find it interesting that all the TJ stores “ran out” of it at the same time. I was told it’s seasonal, and to check back around the Christmas holiday. In fact, I think that is around the time I purchased mine (come to think of it). Check-out this website: http://mykidseatsquid.com/2011/08/diy-flower-pepper/ They provide some ideas for tinkering with your own Flower Pepper concoction. You can typically find dried flowers in an Asian supermarket. If none exist near you, try to buy dried, organic flowers online to experiment. I bet if you make a great mix you could sell a lot of it! Best

    • Lydia Elliott says:

      I am with you on this. Perhaps if enough of us requested they bring it back or at least tell us their real supplier we could get it. I have complained and most of my friends and family have as well. They insist it wasn’t selling well. I think if they brought it back they would get a surprise. They didn’t carry it long enough for people to experiment and try it. Once you do, you never want anything else.

  10. Maryanntucci says:

    Ok soooo upset. Trader does not sell flower pepper anymore. Really. Where can we get some. Another store maybe

  11. Kinser Connie & Jim says:

    AAAARRRRGGGG No Flower Pepper at Trader Joe’s in Des Moines, Iowa…. NONE ! My family loves Flower Pepper and I have recommended it to all of our friends…PLEASE bring it back.. It is absolutely the most excellent tast in pepper…

  12. Beathag says:

    Where can I get this in the uk – I love it, having tasted it recently on a visit to very kind friends in the US.

    • paperladyemmy says:

      Well, its quite easy to make your own flower pepper. I ordered dried organic lavender, rose, calendula and cornflower from Mt. Rose Herbs. They also have the peppercorns, I like the rainbow peppercorns. I added a bit of Lemon Thyme because I like lemon flavor. Mix it up, put it in your own grinder and grind away on your favorite salad, vegetables, fish & chicken. I keep one on the table, another in the kitchen.

  13. jessica says:

    Just found out this is no longer sold. I am devastated. This has been my absolute favorite pepper, a staple in my kitchen, an important ingredient in my salad dressing.. used *everywhere* I needed pepper. Please, please please, TJ’s, bring this back!

    • Debbie says:

      Hi Jessica,
      I would to to their website and request that they bring it back- that’s what I did. If enought people do this, then maybe they will bring it back. We can only hope! I’m still not over it!!
      Debbie

  14. Janis Stoker says:

    Folks, I discovered the recipe for Flower Pepper and Flower Salt and now make it myself.

    Flower Pepper

    Recipe for a condiment formerly sold by Trader Joe’s.

    2 Cups Peppercorns
    2 Tbsp. Culinary/Organic Lavender
    2 Tbsp. Culinary/Organic Rose Petals
    2 Tbsp. Culinary/Organic Calendula (Marigold)
    2 Tbsp. Culinary/Organic Cornflower Petals

    Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
    Place in a medium coarse pepper grinder
    Use on any food item where you enjoy pepper

    For the Flower Salt – change the peppercorns to 1 cup each of Sea Salt and Pink Himalayan Salt crystals and use the same flowers.

    I make large batches of this pepper and salt and store it in the freezer. Bottling some up in a grinder makes wonderful hostess gifts when you go visiting for dinner at a friend’s home.

    I buy the flowers online from Maison Terre – they are an excellent supplier of organic herbs and flowers. http://www.maisonterre.net/shop//index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4&zenid=76c4adfbc07893231049897fe69da84c

    • Debbie says:

      wow, thanks so much for not only the recipe, but the link on where to buy the supplies! I am going to try this. Great idea too for a gift idea. Is the link that you sent in the US? Thanks, Debbie

      • Janis Stoker says:

        Debbie – yes, the link is for an American supplier. They are really quick to ship and prices are very reasonable.

      • Debbie says:

        Thanks Janis- I can’t wait to make some. I was just at Trader Joe’s the other night and happened to be talking to the person who handles the ordering of the spices. I asked about Flower Pepper, and no, it won’t be coming back. I was told that it might be seasonal, but I was told that last year too, and they didn’t have it around Christmas time. Maybe enough people will complain and they will bring it back. Debbie

      • paperladyemmy says:

        If anyone is interested the glass grinder top bottles are available at http://www.sks-bottle.com/340c/fin4c.html and they are made in USA! I just order some and plan to make the flower pepper and flower salt for gifts. Thanks for this Eat At Joes info.

        Mary Elizabeth Nelson 305 Manor Avenue Downingtown, PA 19335 610-505-0684 http://www.menpaperart.com

      • Janis Stoker says:

        Debbie
        Thanks for the link to the grinders. I had been looking for an inexpensive bulk supplier. Muc appreciated.

  15. Another place to get the organic dried flowers to make Flower Pepper is Mountain Rose Herbs.com. Good prices, prompt service.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 564 other followers