Pink peppercorns are not true peppercorns but actually the dried berries from the Baies rose plant. They're cultivated in Madagascar and imported via France, hence their exorbitant price. These rose-hued berries are pungent and slightly sweet. Pink peppercorns can be found in gourmet stores either freeze-dried or packed in brine or water. Once opened, refrigerate water-packed berries for about a week, those packed in brine for 3 to 4 weeks. Freeze-dried pink peppercorns can be stored in a cool, dark place for about 6 months. Pink peppercorns are used as colorful, flavorful additions to a variety of sauces and meat and fish dishes. Though there was once widespread controversy regarding their safety, pink peppercorns have now been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They should not, however, be confused with pink berries (also referred to as peppercorns) from an ornamental plant in Florida and California that can cause severe allergic reactions if eaten. See also peppercorn.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.