Aji Peri Peri
Originating from Africa, this pepper is small, approximately 1-inch long, belongs to the Capsicum baccatum species. It boasts a heat level of around 50,000 Scoville heat units, making it 10 to 20 times hotter than a jalapeño. This pepper is not just about heat; it has a nuanced flavor profile characterized by a sweet, smoky taste. This unique flavor blend, combined with its spiciness, makes the Aji Peri Peri an excellent choice for culinary uses. It works beautifully in sauces, such as when mixed with oil, lemon, salt, and garlic for a basting sauce. It’s also a great addition to salsas and can be dried for use as a foundational powder in pre-cooking rubs or as a fiery condiment.
Aji Peri Peri peppers are highly valued in African cuisine, particularly in bottled chili sauces favored in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, and South Africa. They grow wild across Africa, helped by birds that eat the peppers and spread the seeds. Additionally, they are commercially farmed in several African countries, providing a significant source of income for small-holding farmers.
For optimal growth, Aji Peri Peri peppers, like most pepper plants, benefit greatly from a warm germination environment. Using a garden heat mat or placing the seeds on top of a refrigerator can significantly enhance germination rates.