We pick local horopito (otherwise known as peppertree) growing in its name-place, Horopito, Ruapehu, Aotearoa / New Zealand. We wear gloves as its tough on your hands and beware if you wipe your eyes, it stings! We wore masks picking before they became fashionable (bad joke) as the pepper makes you sneeze.
Horopito Chilli Sauce
1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
Handful of fresh horopito leaves or 1 tsp ground horopito
1/2 dozen garlic cloves
1 tbsp cornflour
1. Simmer water, vinegar, sugar and salt then add horopito and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Add finely chopped garlic, capsicum and grated carrot.
3. Separately mix the cornflour with a little water and stir into the hot liquid.
Simmer for another minute until the liquid is clear.
4. Remove from heat and add the grated ginger and any of its juices.
Use as a sauce on meat and vegetables. Its great in rice paper rolls, with pakora and tempura. (Recipe adapted and inspired by Johanna Knox's book, 'A Forager's Treasury) - definitely a national treasure, thank you Johanna.
Horopito is a slow growing plant and takes at least 5 years of growth before it can be harvested. Horopito leaves have traditionally been used by the Maori - consumed orally, Horopito was used for treating diarrhoea and stomach ache and poor circulation; due to its astringent (tissue tightening) and antiseptic properties.
You can chew the leaves for toothache and stomach-ache or boil as a tea for coughs and colds.
Horopito can be used topically for skin diseases, wounds, cuts and burns as well as to relieve painful bruising and sore joints. It is anti-fungal and can help with candida and ringworm.
Horopito is known to assist circulation, and help with chill-blains.
The main biologically active constituent of Horopito is known as polygodial. which is a component of the “hot taste” and exhibits significant anti-fungal and antibacterial activity.