Fresh Szechuan/Buzz Buttons
Choose 50, 100, or 150 buttons
Available Year Round
New York & California
The New York Times called Szechuan buttons “intriguing” – read the review!
Szechuan Buttons (aka Sechuan Buttons, Sichuan Buttons, Buzz Buttons, Toothache plant, Acmella Oleracea) are an unusual food in that their primary use is not nutrition or flavor but rather to impart a sensation to food and drink. They possess a slightly bitter, herby flavor that isn’t unusual, but a few seconds after consuming them something very interesting begins to happen in the mouth:
Eating a few tiny petals from a Szechuan button (pinched off between thumb and forefinger or cut using a knife or shears) will lead to a tingling sensation…almost like mild voltage or bubbles from an effervescent beverage popping on the tongue. It is similar to (but much more intense than) the tingling imparted by Szechuan peppercorns, which is how this flower gets its name.
Part of the secret of this effect may be that these flowers contain a natural painkiller sometimes used to numb toothache (hence their other nickname: toothache plant). It is not unpleasant, but surprising, and sharing just a small pinch with friends will cause a look of confused wonder.
This product ships from either New York or California depending on availability.
Store Szechuan buttons in their plastic clamshell in your refrigerator. They can be frozen for long term storage. Though their appearance will become less vibrant and their texture may change slightly, their tingling effect will remain.
4-5 days in the refrigerator, up to three months in the freezer.
RECIPES & TIPS
Besides being a lot of fun to eat on their own, Szechuan buttons can be used in drinks and dishes.
In particular, they really excel as a cutting-edge cocktail ingredient. Bartenders appreciate their ability to make drinks a more sensory experience beyond taste, smell, and appearance. The petals can also be pinched off and sprinkled onto salads or used in sorbets and ice cream.