Aji Colorado Chile Peppers
Inventory, lb : 0
Aji Colorado chile peppers are elongated and slender, averaging 12 to 15 centimeters in length and 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter, and have a straight to slightly curved, conical shape. The skin is glossy, transforming from green when young, to bright orange-red, to a darker red-brown when mature, and is semi-smooth, sometimes covered in small wrinkles. Underneath the thin skin, the flesh is bright red, crisp, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with many round, cream-colored seeds. Aji Colorado chile peppers offer a moderate heat that dissipates quickly mixed with a sweet, fruity flavor.
Aji Colorado chile peppers are available in the late summer through fall.
Aji Colorado chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum baccatum, are one of the four main peppers found within the species and is found on a fast-growing shrub that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. In Spanish, the word Colorado means “colored red,” and in the Andean region where these peppers were originally grown, they were labeled Aji Colorado for their red skin. Aji Colorado chile peppers are favored for their moderate heat, ranging 20,000-30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, but are primarily valued for their pungent, fruity flavor. This pepper is localized to home gardens of Peru and Bolivia and is commonly found in dried forms, ground into a powder, or blended into pastes as a flavoring for everyday cooking.
Aji Colorado chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and are a very good source of vitamins B6 and A. They also contain flavonoids that have beneficial antioxidant properties, like lutein and beta carotene, contain essential nutrients like niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin, and contain minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and copper. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Aji Colorado chile peppers have a compound known as capsaicin, which gives the pepper its spicy flavor and has been shown to contain anti-carcinogenic and anti-bacterial properties.
Aji Colorado chile peppers can be used fresh or dried in both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, grilling, boiling, and baking. For fresh applications, it is recommended to wear gloves to protect hands from the capsaicin, which can cause irritation under the nails. Aji Colorado chile peppers can be chopped and mixed into salsas, sliced and tossed into salads, minced and stirred into chilis, soups, and stews, or added to egg dishes for a fruity, pungent flavor. Aji Colorado chile peppers can also be sautéed in vegetable dishes, stuffed into empanadas, or lightly stir-fried, and can be used as a substitute for jalapenos when more spice is desired in a dish. In addition to fresh and cooked applications, Aji Colorado chile peppers are popularly dried as their skin is thin and will easily crumble into chile flakes. Dried Aji Colorado chile peppers can be sprinkled over cooked meats, rice, and bean dishes, used as a spice on pizzas, or preserved in oil or vinegar and made into a paste. Aji Colorado chile peppers pair well with potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, meats such as poultry, beef, pork, and fish, other seafood, beans, lentils, and corn. The fresh pepper will keep 1-2 weeks when stored whole and unwashed in the refrigerator.
Chile peppers in the Capsicum baccatum species are an essential part of local cuisine in the Andean region and have been used in culinary and medicinal applications since the Incas. Valued for adding flavor and heat into culinary dishes, chile peppers were so respected by the Incas that they were often given as tribute to high-ranking leaders as a form of taxation. They were also believed to be one of the first spices used in everyday cooking. In modern-day Peru and Bolivia, dried Aji Colorado is mainly cultivated in home gardens and is crushed into chile flakes or combined with vinegar and ground down into a paste. The crushed spicy pepper is used in dishes like escabeche, where fish is marinated in lemon juice like ceviche and sautéed with herbs, chiles, and spices. Aji Colorado paste is also used in the Andean dish pachamanca, which is a meal of meat, vegetables, and potatoes cooked in an earthen oven.
Aji Colorado chile peppers are native to the region surrounding the Andes mountains stretching along Peru and Bolivia and have been grown for thousands of years. Today Aji Colorado chile peppers are primarily cultivated in home gardens and are offered fresh through local markets in South America. The peppers are also available in seed form through online catalogs, and dried versions of the pepper are sold at specialty markets in Central, North, and South America.
Recipes that include Aji Colorado Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
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