If my Rocoto/manzano/Peron pepper plants freeze tonight....

I will want to use them green. We don’t usually have freezes this early, but one is expected tonight. The winter ones in January and Febuary usually last only an hour or two.

For whatever reason, I have kept this plant going for more than two winters, and will probably try again. And yet, I rarely use the peppers. I usually only get a few ripe ones, and they are scattered over several months. I chop them up, keep them as is, in a small container, but rarely make the best of them.

Looking for ideas. They seem sort of “prized”, so I want to make the best of it. I am covering them, along with several “seasoning peppers”, with frost blankets tonight.

Can’t find the link that distinguishes Peron from other rocotos or manzanos, but still looking.

Not what I was looking for, but I found this.


“Hi Everyone,
I’ve been making batches of Asian Chilli Paste (called Sambal Chilli) but just without the Sambal (salted fish!), for a few years now with my parents’ Rocoto Chillies. I have sold and given bottles away but my supply is more than the demand! Too many Rocoto chillies! I tried asking a local fresh food grocer if they’d buy some off me (the fresh chillies) but to no avail. They wanted Habanero Chillies or other varieties, Rocotos are too spicy! So I’d recommend making some Sambal Chilli paste from your harvest of Rocotos. Your Malaysian friends will love you for it!”

And this…

“A Hodgepodge of Mexico’s Fresh Chiles”

" Chile manzano (aka chile perón ), about as big as a golf ball, packs a punch: 30,000-60,000 on the Scoville scale. The manzano is hot, but also very floral in flavor. It’s usually used in encurtidos (pickled vegetables with chiles"

And this

Gourmet Sleuth

And this

“You Grow Girl”


Not really answering your question, I’m not familiar with the pepper you mentioned (couldn’t eat too hot!), but a gardening question.

Did you leave the plant outdoor the whole winter? Did you need to trim or reduce the leaves? I have a pepper plant (Espelette, mild pepper) and I wonder if I can keep it for next year. I’m in hardiness zone 8A.

This particular plant I did leave outside ( I am in Northern California), and was surprised that it survived. It is native to the Andes, so is perhaps the most cold tolerant pepper plant, and actually struggles more with our summer heat, than our usual winter temps.

I have overwintered many capsicum chinense in my unheated garage.

Espellet is apparently capsicum annum, and I think they might not do as well.

This is the manzano pepper link I was looking for. It is a capiscum pubescens.

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Over winter guide

"… Which plants over winter best?

Of the five-domesticated/cultivated capsicum species (Annuum, Chinense, Pubescens, Frutescens & Annuum), Pubescens tend to over winter best in my experience. Their natural climate is the cool upper slopes of the Andes Mountains and they can quite happily tolerate the lower winter temperatures. No pepper plants will survive a hard penetrating frost though. Water molecules in the plants root system expand when they freeze causing permanent and fatal damage. Varieties such as Rocoto and Manzano normally over winter very well with little more damage than a little leaf drop. I tend to leave immature pods on the plant. Although growth is slow to non-existent, they tend to ripen when the hours of daylight lengthen & weather improves. Capsicum Eximium, a closely related wild relative of Pubescens and other wild species like Chacoense and Pratermissum also over winter well.

Capsicum Chinense, which includes the Habaneros, Nagas & Scotch Bonnets, demand warmer climatic conditions and a long growing season for fruits to fully develop and ripen. You would think that these would be the hardest to over winter. No so in my experience although they are probably the most unpredictable. A 2 year old Chocolate Habanero plant, which made it through 2 cold, winters perished in year 3 despite milder conditions. This year a three year old Red Savina plant bit the dust despite making in through two previous winters as a younger, weaker plant. Why did this happen? I believe a contributory factor was not removing mature pods from the plants."

"Frutescens are probably the closest relative (of the 5 domestic/cultivated species of capsicum) to Chinense and in my experience their survival rates are similar. Tabasco plants winter well if pods are harvested and they are pruned back sharply. Without pruning foliage, ultimately plants turn brown and often die back quickly, a scenario to which plants of the annuum species seem most susceptible.

In pepper naming convention Annuum means annuals, a misnomer, as all Chile pepper plants are perennials. Having said that, over wintering annum’s is normally a bloodbath for me and I’ve rarely had success, particularly with some of the more compact ornamental varieties like Purple Prince, Prairie Fire, Bolivian Rainbow, etc. Maybe this is something to do with genetics and crossing to produce these highly ornamental varieties in the first place. Don’t be too downhearted though as many of my friends who experience milder winter weather have faired much better."

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Thanks a lot, Shrinkrap for all this helpful information!

Beats doing my job!

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I’m in Northern California as well, and my manzano plants are 3 years old. They’re the only chilies I can reliably grow because of our cool, foggy summers, and I love them even more because they are not only spicy when fully ripe, but perennial. This year, they finally gave me enough chips to experiment! I got the seeds from Baker Creek, and they were supposed to be both red and orange chilies, but for whatever reason, only the orange ones germinated.

I made a fermented chili sauce using Khang Starr’s method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH0ol75iQMQ. I also made a honey chili jam that took weeks to set, a great tuna poke, and I smoked and dried the rest so I can use it like Spanish paprika.


Khang Starr is a beast! I used his method to make my double buckets.

How do you smoke the manzanos?

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I lack. real smoker, so I put my gas grill on indirect heat and use a smoker box. I think I had it full of oak chips this time around, but I’ve used cherry wood and even dried rosemary branches in the past. I smoked the peppers on low for about an hour, then I finish drying them in a dehydrator. I store the peppers dried and whole, and I grind them up as I need them.


I put my plants in a makeshift low tunnel.


Thanks for showing the photos! I will make a tunnel like this and moved my citrus plants inside with the pepper plant too. The temperature dips to around 0°C/32°F at night these days. The citrus are still okay now, but much lower, they don’t like it.

I just harvested everything: green pepper, green tomatoes last night before the frost.

Just a question, how the plastic sheet stays in place, some kind of clips?

“Just a question, how the plastic sheet stays in place, some kind of clips?”

Yes; sometimes from elswhere, but I usually get my pvc fittings and clips from Grow Organic- How to Extend the Season

Right now I have “floating row cover”, but I may get green house plastic.

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Another year old!


Making candied peppers.


A little ginger too.

Here for tips on how to protect my Manzano from 32 degree cold tonight in Marin.

Mine is 2 years old - yours still going?

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:neutral_face: it is not still going. It bit the dust last spring. Not sure why, perhaps I didn’t try hard enough to keep it going.

It IS cold here tonight ! I have aji amarillo and scotch bonnet in an unheated lean-to green house. Right now it’s 41 in there, 33 outside.

I would usually make sure it’s watered and try a frost blanket

Good luck!

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