James Asks: "Can We Make Pepper From The Pepper Trees On The Course?"
We have trees of the genus Schinuswhich is a flowering tree and tall shrub in the sumac family, Anacardiaceae.
Members of the genus are commonly known as pepper trees.
The Peruvian Pepper Tree (Schinus molle) is the source of the spice known as pink peppercorns but can become serious invasive species outside their natural habitats.
We do know for a fact that they attract golf balls.
Short answer is NO! Do not eat/prepare or for that matter touch them or alergic reactions can occur.
The two best-known United States species of pepper trees present many plusses -- and some serious minuses. Municipal landscapers rely on the showy, fire-resistant, drought-tolerant California Pepper Tree (Schinus molle).
Though arguably just as beautiful, the introduced Brazilian Pepper Tree, Schinus terebinthifolius, has spread agressively across the southern states, Caribbean and Hawaii. Freed from the competitors of its original habitat, it forms dense thickets that crowd or shade out native plants.
The leaves, pollen, sap and berries can trigger allergic responses. Some parts of Florida prohibit its planting. Despite this, it is still recommended for California planting, chiefly for its fire-resistance in dry areas. Other, lesser-known species include Schinus latifolus, which produces a lovely profusion of tiny flowers.
They tend to form surface roots and can drop a messy litter, so locate away from buildings, paving, curbs, and paths
The tree is rather drought tolerant, but there is a catch. While the California Pepper Tree can withstand some drought conditions, over time this can cause the branches to start to become hollow. When this happens, they will snap under very little pressure. Still, the tree is a good choice for areas where water is not abundant.
The trees are a good source of shade, and some people have said that their farm animals, such as horses, enjoy eating the leaves. Some people have reported having an allergic reaction when the fruit of the tree brushed against their skin. Also, the fruit is not edible.
The pepper berries grow on bushes that are cultivated to heights of about 13 ft (4 m). If the berries were allowed to ripen fully, they would turn red; instead, they are harvested when they are green. Harvesting is done without any mechanical equipment. Women pick the unripened berries and transport them in large wicker baskets to drying platforms. The berries are spread on these large platforms to dry in the sun over a period of about a week and a half. In their dried state, the green berries blacken to become the peppercorns we use in pepper mills.
Alternatively, the pepper berries can be picked just as they begin to turn red. They are plunged into boiling water for approximately 10 minutes, and they turn black or dark brown in an hour. The peppercorns are spread in the sun to dry for three to four days before they are taken to the factory to be ground. This process is quicker than airdrying alone but requires the added step of the boiling water bath.
If white pepper is to be produced, the peppercorns are either stored in heaps after they have been boiled or they are harvested and packed in large sacks that are then lowered into running streams for seven to 15 days (depending on location). Bacterial action causes the outer husk of each peppercorn, called the pericarp, to break away from the remainder of the peppercorn. The berries are removed from the stream and placed in barrels partially immersed in water; workers trample the berries, much like stomping grapes, to agitate the peppercorns and remove any remaining husks. Some processors now use mechanical methods to grind off the outer coating to produce so-called decorticated pepper, but many exporters prefer the old-fashioned method.
In the factory
Black and white pepper are processed in the factory by cleaning, grinding, and packaging. Blowers and gravity separators are used to remove dust, dirt clods, bits of twigs and stalk, and other impurities from the peppercorns after they are imported from the field. Sometimes, treatments are used to eliminate bacteria on the cleaned, dry peppercorns.
Grinding consists of using a series of rollers in a process called cold roll milling to crush the peppercorns. Cracked peppercorns are only crushed lightly to bruise the peppercorns and release their flavor.