Aji Dulce Chile Peppers
Inventory, lb : 0
Ají Dulce peppers widely vary in appearance depending on the climate, soil, and region they are grown in. The pods can be squat, wrinkled, and hat-like, or they can be oblong to round in shape, averaging 2 to 7 centimeters in diameter and 2 to 10 centimeters in length. They may also have a straight to irregularly curved appearance with slight tapering towards the non-stem end. The medium-thick skin is glossy, taut, and covered in many deep folds and wrinkles. When young, the pepper bears hues of light to dark green and as it matures, it transforms to orange-yellow, and then red. Underneath the skin, the flesh matches the exterior skin tone, depending on maturity, and is crisp and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with flat and round, cream-colored seeds. Ají Dulce chile peppers are aromatic and have a sweet, fruity, and smoky flavor mixed with mild heat.
Ají Dulce chile peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer through fall.
Ají Dulce chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum chinense, are brightly-colored, wrinkled pods that grow on leafy shrubs and are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as Ajícito, Ají Cachucha, and Ají Gustoso, Ají Dulce chile peppers have a mild heat ranging 0 to 1,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, which is similar to the spice of poblano peppers. Ají Dulce chile peppers are extremely popular in Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican cooking, which are cuisines that value peppers with sweet flavors and mild spice. The peppers are predominately used in sofrito, which is a sauce made from a combination of vegetables that are used as a base flavor in dishes such as stews, braises, and soups.
Ají Dulce chile peppers contain potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C, and B6, iron, and magnesium.
Ají Dulce chile peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as sautéing, roasting, and stewing. They are most commonly chopped and used in sofrito, which is a savory sauce base made up of bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro. Ají Dulce peppers are used to flavor sautéed vegetables, summer salads, meat dishes, stews, soups, rice, and bean dishes. They are also used to flavor mild salsa, herbal vinegar, paprika, and sauces. Ají Dulce peppers pair well with potatoes, green lentils, olives, rice, beans, herbs such as cilantro, oregano, parsley, and rosemary, and meats such as poultry, beef, or pork. They will keep up to one week when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator.
Ají Dulce peppers are known to be mild, but as they have increased in demand in worldwide commercial markets, some of the fruits have been found to be much hotter than expected. This spice variation is predominately due to the Ají Dulce being grown near and naturally cross-pollinating with other spicy peppers such as habaneros. This recent spice variation in the pepper has negatively impacted Ají Dulce sales in the United States because consumers are becoming skeptical of the quality of the peppers as there is no way to determine the level of heat that each pepper carries by appearance alone. As a result, many consumers have switched to purchasing other sweet pepper varieties to use in Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican dishes as the traditional cuisine rarely calls for peppers with heat.
Ají Dulce chile peppers are believed to be native to South America, specifically to the Brazilian Amazon, and have been growing wild since ancient times. The peppers were then spread to the Caribbean and Central America via Spanish colonists and Brazilian immigrants. Today Ají Dulce chile peppers can be found at local markets and specialty grocers across South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and also in the Northeastern United States.
Recipes that include Aji Dulce Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|The Cook's Cook||Aji Dulce "Hot" Sauce|
|Kitchen Delujo||Puerto Rican Sofrito|