WHAT IS AJI DULCE?
The name is used both for the brightly colored Caribbean chili pepper and the spice mix made from it. Starting off as green in color, they gradually turn red, yellow or even orange. They range in heat from mild to very spicy. Noted for their fruity flavor, they are similar in appearance to habanero peppers. However some versions of this have been deliberately cross-bred with much hotter chilis. Despite this that these hybrids look just like their milder cousins. While they are mild in heat, their sweet taste and fruity flavor have made them a favorite for mild recipes.
WHY IS AJI DULCE GOOD FOR YOU?
They’re rich in minearls (potassium, iron, magnesium) and vitamins A, B, C as well as fiber. As with other hot peppers, they help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Also the red and orange pigments that give the pepper their color are called carotenoids and are thought to help prevent cancer.
WHEN IS AJI DULCE IN SEASON?
These are a summer harvest that take about 3 months until they’re ready to harvest. They grow to about 18 inches in height and favor shade. Native to the Amazon, they favor warmer conditions and will not survive a frost.
HOW SHOULD AJI DULCE BE STORED?
Peppers can be stored at room temperature for several days or refrigerated for up to a week. The pepper by itself it doesn’t freeze well. But when made into sofrito you can place it in an ice cube tray in a zip lock bag in your freezer for easy access.
WHAT RECIPES USE AJI DULCE?
Sofrito is a Puerto Rican favorite that is considered an essential staple of cuisine there. The name itself means to saute or lightly fry something and it’s used as a foundation for many stews and rice dishes. This pepper can even be found in cocktail recipes!