Aji Pineapple chile peppers mature from green into a deep orange when ripe. An average sized yellow chile is around five inches in length, but they can get between 6 and 7 inches long. Like all members of Capsicum baccatum, the Aji Pineapple chile is flavor forward, with a spicy kick at the end. It has a unique fruity flavor, reminiscent of a Poblano chile, and a subtle spice that is less harsh and more full-bodied. The Aji Pineapple ranks between 30,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville scale.
Aji Pineapple chile peppers are available in the fall months.
Aji Pineapple chile peppers are in the Capsicum baccatum family, and are among some of the lesser-known chiles. “Aji” is what most South Americans call chiles, and in Peru, the most popular and important ingredient in regional dishes is Aji Pineapple, or Peruvian hot pepper. These spicy chiles are also known as Aji Escabeche, Aji Limon or simply as yellow chile.
Aji Pineapple chiles are used most often in recipes as a paste. The chiles are dried and used as a ground spice in a variety of dishes. When cooked, the chiles turn yellow, living up to their name. The spicy chile is used to flavor many Peruvian and Bolivian dishes. The size of the chiles makes it a good candidate for stuffing or grilling applications. For fresh Aji Pineapple chiles, dice and add to mango or pineapple salsas, or boil whole fresh chiles and puree into a paste. Add to soups for an additional kick, or In Peru, the Aji Pineapple is considered to be part of the condiment trio, along with onions and garlic.
Aji Pineapple chiles, as well as other members in the baccatum species, are native to South and Central America and have been cultivated for over 7,000 years. Baccatum is a loose translation of “berry-like” which alludes to the shape of the fruits of the species. Aji Pineapple chiles are grown throughout South America, and on small farms in the Southwestern United States.