If you aren’t living in Peru, probably, you may not have tasted Aji Pineapple pepper. In fact, like this pepper most varieties of Capsicum baccatum species of chiles are mostly popular only in South America.
In this article, I’ll bring home to you all the important info on Aji Pineapple pepper. Get the seeds to grow this fruity pepper in your kitchen garden. I’m sure that you’ll love it.
What Is Aji Pineapple Pepper?
Aji Pineapple is a rare variety of pepper from Peru. As the name indicates, these peppers have a distinct pineapple taste. The plant grows about a meter high and it easily grows into a big bushy plant yielding a lot of fruits. The pods are about 6 cm long and 2 cm wide and start off green and turn to bright yellow when mature.
“Aji” in Spanish translates “Chili” in English thus the mention of the word “pepper” with “Aji” is somewhat repetitive.
It’s one of the lesser-known Aji varieties from South America in the C. baccatum species. This chile grows best in cooler climates and produces a lot of delicious pods for a long season.
Key Features In A Gist
- Origin: Peru
- Capsicum species: Baccatum
- Heat Level: 20,000 – 30,000 SHU (moderately hot)
- Size: 2 to 3 inches long, shaped like a pendant
- Color: ripen from dark green to a bright yellow
- Flavor: Fruity, Sweet, Pineapple tint
- Use: Culinary
Aji Pineapple Scoville – Heat Level
As regards heat, the Aji Pineapple is not so impactful but its lower medium level heat is appealing to a much wider audience. It’s an excellent choice for medium-hot sauces and soups. Aji Pineapple Scoville ranges between 20,000 – 30,000 SHU. The heat level of this pepper is comparable to familiar serrano pepper. In terms of spiciness, this pineapple-flavored pepper comes close to the bottom level of Aji Amarillo and Cayenne Pepper with heat raging from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. When compared to Jalapeno, the Aji Pineapple is 4 to 10 times hotter. If you enjoy moderately spicy food then you shouldn’t miss out on this one.
Appearance and Flavor
The Aji Pineapple is a bright yellow baccatum pepper with elongated pendant-like pods that grow 2-3 inches in length. They have a flattened, oblong shape with a few small bumps all along the body. The plant is highly prolific and yields chiles in large numbers; the pods ripen from dark green to bright yellow.
In contrast to the name, I don’t get the delicious taste of fresh pineapple in this chile, but the bright citrusy, fruity flavors of this chile have some likeness to pineapple. It tastes like a tropical fruit with mild sweetness and citrus tang.
Aji Pineapple is, perhaps, one of the best tasting peppers among many varieties of chiles in Capsicum baccatum species. If you are turned off by extremely hot chilies, but you are looking for a signature tropical fruity sweetness with mild heat then this aji is a perfect chile for your delicious dishes.
They are amazing chili peppers for fresh use, especially in hot sauces and tropical salsas. Use Aji Pineapple in green or fruit salads and sandwiches for their fruity sweetness with mellowed pungency. The pineapple-like sweetness of this pepper goes well with saltier meats like ham and bacon.
This aji pepper is exceptionally good for making hot sauces, and soups. Dehydrated chiles can be used to make chili powder, a good seasoning ingredient for meat and fish recipes. Lastly, I’m sure that you have many more ideas to use this sweet pepper than I do.
Buying And Storing
Where can you buy Aji Pineapple pepper? Unfortunately, you won’t get fresh peppers of it outside Peru but the dried version of this chile is available from several online sellers. Store the fresh peppers in a plastic bag or container in the refrigerator and they will stay good for a fortnight.
Occasionally, a few specialty chili farms elsewhere outside Peru may have them cultivated for reasons of variety and diversity. See if you can trace such a chili farm in your locality. Try to buy the Aji Pineapple seeds online from reputed chili seeds sellers and grow them in your kitchen garden. Once you taste this chili, you may become its true fan for life.
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: