Aji Limo Chile Peppers
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Aji Limo chiles are slender, straight, to slightly curved, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in length and 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter, and have a tapered, conical shape. The skin is glossy and taut, ranging in color from yellow, orange, purple, white, to red, and the surface has a wrinkled, semi-smooth appearance. Underneath the thin skin, the flesh color matches the exterior skin tone and is crisp, aqueous, and slightly ribbed, encasing a central cavity filled with many round, cream-colored seeds. Aji Limo chile peppers are aromatic and have a distinct floral and fruity taste with strong notes of sour citrus. The peppers are also considered very hot and have an immediate heat that lingers.
Aji Limo chile peppers are available in the late fall through winter.
Aji Limo chile peppers are multi-colored, pungent pods growing on leafy shrubs that are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Native to the western slopes of the Andes and named after Lima, the capital city in Peru, Aji Limo chile peppers are considered to be very spicy ranging 30,000-50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. Aji Limo chile peppers are a rare variety that is difficult to classify due to its muddled history. Some experts believe the pepper is a part of the Capsicum chinense species, while other experts record it as part of the Capsicum baccatum species. Despite this debate, Aji Limo chiles are mainly used in South America and are utilized for their fruity, citrus-like flavoring in fresh seafood dishes.
Aji Limo chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron. The peppers also contain capsaicin, which is a compound that causes the brain to feel spice or heat and is believed to offer beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aji Limo chile peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as simmering, boiling, roasting, grilling, and baking. When preparing the peppers, it may be beneficial to wear gloves to avoid the burning sensation that the capsaicin may cause when in direct contact with the skin. Aji Limo chile peppers can be used fresh and are incorporated into salsas, hot sauces, and marinades. The peppers are also popularly paired with seafood such as fish or shrimp and are used to flavor ceviche, which is Peru’s national dish. In addition to fresh applications, Aji Limo chile peppers can be chopped and mixed into soups, stews, and chilis, or stir-fried with vegetables and cooked meats. The citrus-forward, fruity, and sour flavor of the pepper also compliments other Peruvian dishes such as spicy chicken, lomo saltado, which is marinated beef tenderloin, and carapulca, which is a meat and vegetable dish. Aji Limo chile peppers pair well with potatoes, cassava, quinoa, rice, lentils, tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, carrots, corn, and beans. The peppers will keep 1-2 weeks when stored whole and unwashed in the refrigerator.
Aji Limo chile peppers are not grown on a large commercial scale outside of Peru, but the plants are tolerant to cold weather which has increased their popularity as a specialty variety in England and the United States. When introduced to the United States, legend has it that the name was miswritten as aji limon, which means lemon pepper. This mistranslation caused companies to rename the pepper and many farms today still label some Aji Limo varieties as Lemon Drop peppers.
Aji Limo peppers are native to Peru, specifically the Lima region along the western side of the Andes mountains, and have been cultivated for thousands of years. Today the spicy peppers are primarily localized to home gardens and small farms in Peru. Outside of Peru, Aji Limo peppers can be found in seed form through online catalogs or through small farms at local farmer’s markets in Europe, Central America, and the United States.
Recipes that include Aji Limo Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Mother Earth Living||Salsa de Aji Límo|
|The Chili King||Aji Lemon & Mango Sauce|
|Fine Dining Lovers||Ceviche|
|New World Review||Aji Seco|