Aji Limo is one of the most flavorful of the Andean peppers which has been popular from pre-Columbian times. Among the many varieties of Aji chiles, Aji Amarillo, Aji Panca, Aji Rocoto, and Aji Limo are the most used chiles in Peru, also in many other regions across South America. All in all, it’s a great-looking plant with prolific production of chilies that have instant heat and unique flavor. Take care, Aji Limo is really hot!
What are Aji Limo Peppers?
The Limo chile is a medium-hot chili from Peru. The name Lima pepper is in reference to the Peruvian city. The chili pods grow to the size of 2 to 3 inches long in red, yellow, or orange colors and are medium-hot with a fruity, citrusy flavor.
Limo chiles are multicolored pungent pods growing on the bushy shrubs with hairy leaves that are part of the Solanaceae family of plants. They are native to the western slopes of the Andes and are named after Lima, the capital of Peru.
Aji Limo chile peppers are one of its kinds with mixed features of a few other chiles to the extent of difficulty to correctly classify them. Most chili experts place them under Capsicum baccatum species but few others classify them as part of Capsicum chinense species.
If you want to buy fresh Aji Limo chile, it’s mostly available only in Peru. However, you can buy this chile in dried, ground, frozen, or pickled form from online vendors. A more practical option is to buy the seeds from farmers or heirloom seed sellers and grow them in your garden; this chili can survive even in cold climates.
Key Facts In A Gist
- Origin: Peru
- Capsicum species: Capsicum baccatum
- Heat level: 30,000-50,000 SHU
- Median heat: 40,000 SHU
- Color: Yellow, Red, Orange
- Size: 2 to 3 inches long
- Flavor: Citrusy, Fruity
- Use: Culinary
Aji Limo Scoville – Heat Level
Aji Limo is a spicy pepper with heat levels ranging between 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. The heat spreads quickly into your palate and gives a nice burn that even spreads to the roof of your mouth. The heat of this Andean pepper is not a match for Habanero yet strong enough to turn away mediocre chili fans. Heat-wise, limo pepper stays on equal footing with Cayenne, Tabasco, Aji Amarillo, and Aji Charapita. In comparison to Jalapeno, limo chile is anywhere between 6 t0 10 times hotter.
What Do They Look Like?
The pods are slender, straight, and slightly curved. They have tapered and conical shale with 5 to 7 cm length and 2 to 3 cm diameter. The skin is smooth and glossy but according to the breed, the colors can vary from yellow, red, orange, and even purple and white. Under the skin, the pods have colorful flesh that matches the exterior skin tone. The inner membranes are aqueous, crisp, and slightly ribbed; the central cavity is filled with several creamy-colored flat seeds.
What Does Aji Limo Taste Like?
Aji Limo peppers have a clearly distinct fruity and floral taste with strong citrus notes. The medium heat of this pepper produces an instant pungency that lingers for a couple of minutes. Every bite gives a crunchy feel with an explosion of fruity and sour flavor. The sourness and spiciness of this Limo chile give a decent punch to any recipe, especially the chicken and seafood dishes. The floral and fruity complexity of this chile adds a highly satiating flavor to salsas. Besides the flavor, the bright yellow or red color of this pepper gives an alluring appearance to any dish; an attractive color for salads especially.
Aji Limo can be used in both raw and cooked dishes like roasting, simmering, boiling, baking, or grilling. Limo chile is an important ingredient in many traditional Peruvian dishes like Ceviche. The citrus-spicy combination of this pepper is exceptionally good for chicken and seafood dishes and in salsa as well. It’s a nice addition to hot sauces and marinades. Fresh Aji peppers can be chopped and mixed into salads, stews, soups, and stir-fried vegetable dishes. It pairs well with cassava, potatoes, rice, quinoa, tomatoes, lentils, cilantro, garlic, corn, beans, and carrots.
Aji Limo Vs. Lemon Pepper
Aji Limo chile peppers are rare and you won’t find them commercially cultivated outside Peru. The Limo chile plant is highly versatile and can survive in both cold and hot climates alike. The versatility of the plant and unique blend of citrus-spicy notes increased their popularity in the United States and England. Outside Peru, the name of this pepper was often miswritten as Aji Limon, which literally means “Lemon Pepper”. This faulty translation caused confusion, and some farms and companies began to wrongly label some varieties of Aji Limo as Lemon Drop Peppers. However, the actual lemon pepper is a seasoning made from granulated lemon zest and cracked black peppercorns.
Other Varieties Of Aji Peppers
There are many different strains of Peruvian and South American aji peppers and here are the links to some of the most popular aji peppers: