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Blueberry chile peppers are small, conical to oval-shaped pods, averaging two centimeters in length and 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter, and grow upright on thin, green stems that are nestled between leaves tinged with dark purple. The skin is smooth and semi-glossy, ripening from indigo blue-purple, orange, to red when mature. Underneath the medium-thick skin, the flesh is pale green to ivory, crisp, and aqueous, encasing tiny, flat, and round, cream-colored seeds. When young, Blueberry chile peppers offer a flavor similar to bell peppers mixed with a moderate to hot level of spice that has a steady, lingering burn. As the peppers mature to red, the flavor of the pepper sweetens, and the spiciness decreases.
Blueberry chile peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the late spring through summer. They are also grown indoors in milder climates during the winter.
Blueberry chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are brightly colored, ornamental pods that grow upright on small, umbrella-shaped plants that reach up to sixty centimeters in height. Also known as Filius Blue chile peppers, Blueberry chile peppers are hot when young, ranging 30,000 to 50,000 SHU on the Scoville scale and are one of the few varieties that become milder with maturity. Blueberry chile peppers are commonly harvested when immature and violet-blue in color, which is how they earned their fruity moniker. The peppers are predominately regarded as an ornamental variety, adding bright, variegated colors to home gardens, and are favored for their compact size and the ability to produce up to one hundred pods on a single plant.
Blueberry chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps create healthy membranes within the body to catch pathogens and boost the immune system, and vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps build collagen and protects the body from external bacteria. The peppers also contain essential minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium, and a chemical compound known as capsaicin that triggers the brain to feel mild or intense spice and offers anti-inflammatory properties by blocking a neuropeptide that causes inflammation.
Blueberry chile peppers are regarded as mostly ornamental, but the pods are edible and are best suited for raw applications as they tend to lose their heat once cooked. Fresh Blueberry chile peppers can be chopped into salsas, sauces, marinades, and dips for added heat. They can also be sliced in half and tossed into green salads, layered into sandwiches, used as a topping on tacos, or minced into fritters. In addition to fresh and cooked applications, the brightly colored peppers can be served whole as a crisp garnish, or they can be pickled or preserved in vinegar or oil for extended use. Blueberry chile peppers pair well with meat such as poultry, beef, pork, and fish, mustard greens, cilantro, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, and onions. The peppers will keep 3-5 days when stored in the refrigerator.
Blueberry chile peppers are often planted in the fall and grown indoors to produce multi-colored pods throughout the holiday season. Nicknamed the “Christmas pepper,” Blueberry chile peppers are a popular Christmas gift for avid home gardeners as the plants are compact, prolific producers, and highly ornamental. The pepper plant’s robust growing habits also earned it the Award of Garden Merit by the United Kingdom’s Royal Horticultural Society in 2006, which is a charity that seeks to inspire and educate the public on plants and gardening. Blueberry chile peppers were given this award based on rigorous trials and testing, availability, stability as a cultivar, and pest and disease resistance.
Blueberry chile peppers are a Capsicum annuum species, which was believed to have first been grown and domesticated in Central America, specifically in Mexico. The peppers were then spread to Europe and Asia via Spanish and Portuguese explorers transporting the plants and seeds for trade in the 16th and 17th centuries. While the exact dates of when Blueberry chile peppers were introduced to Europe and the United States are unknown, today the peppers are most often planted as an ornamental variety and are not commercially produced. Blueberry chile peppers can be found at local farmer’s markets in the United States and Europe and in seed form through online catalogs for home gardens.