Rocoto Peppers

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I was gifted some of these delicious peppers from my coworker’s garden. This was the first time I tried these peppers and I think I’m addicted. At first I did not know what to expect so I researched where these peppers ranked in terms of their scoville rating. I found a site that said that they were right between a habanero and a thai chili pepper. I figured I could handle it. So I sliced one up…marveled at the black seeds…and then took in a sliver.

The first bite was crunchy, then sweet, and the heat started to come in after 4 seconds. The heat wasn’t too hot and I was able to move on with a small cup of water. However, I didn’t wear any gloves and I didn’t know I touched my face as much as I do. That burned more than the pepper. Here’s a little more about the rotoco.

Capsicum pubescens is a species of the genus Capsicum (pepper), known as rukutu, ruqutu (Quechua, hispanicized rocoto) and luqutu (Aymara, hispanicized locoto) which is found primarily in Central and South America. It is known only in cultivation. The species name, pubescens, means hairy, which refers to the hairy leaves of this pepper. The hairiness of the leaves, along with the black seeds, distinguish this species from others. As they reach a relatively advanced age and the roots lignify quickly, sometimes they are called tree chili. Of all the domesticated species of peppers, this is the least widespread and systematically furthest away from all others. It is reproductively isolated from other species of the genus Capsicum. A very notable feature of this species is its ability to withstand cooler temperatures than other cultivated pepper plants, but cannot withstand frost.

After researching it a little more, there’s another pepper called Manzano…which all the google images look just like the rocoto but claim to be a little more mild in the scoville rating. I’m going to have to check with my coworker to make sure these aren’t manzanos. Then after doing more research, it seems like the manzano and rocoto are the same pepper. From the internet threads, it seems like the scoville rating varies with these peppers and are determined by the conditions they were grown. Less water = more heat.

rocoto_havest rocoto

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