Peruvian Aji Amarillo

Very cool! You know, that fennel or dill is taking away valuable Aji space! LOL! Same with the cabbage. I’ll mail you some seeds soon, now that our mailbox isn’t a solar oven.

Late December and these plants continue to produce tons of fruit. By now, we’re putting ajis into our corn flakes and ice cream, as they are coming out of our ears. What remains unusual about these plants is how long it took for fruit to ripen and the crop coming ripe in a shorter timeframe (as well as the dropping of unripe pods). Still, I can’t complain about the overall outcome and will certainly be growing these again next year!

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Will you "overwinter " the plants ? I think I’ll bring one plant in today.

Before and after cutting back.

That’s quite the haul! No wonder they were dropping fruit earlier; there were too many and the plants self-thinned. BTW, one of the best ways to preserve them is to blend them with neutral-flavored oil, into a smooth paste. Then, pack glass jars with the paste, squeezing out as much air as possible. Wide-mouthed pint Mason jars work well. Leave about 1/2 inch of head space, for ice expansion in the jars. A thin layer of oil on top can help keep oxygen away for longer-term storage. Freeze the paste. Because it’s blended with oil, it’s easy to scoop out what you need without fully defrosting the jar.

Another delicious use is to deseed, core them and use them in an olive salad spread, sort of like a muffaletta. Olives, celery, capers, vinegar, etc. get chopped up in a food processor. It’s all “to taste”, but here’s the basics:
About 50% olives-green w/pimientos and Kalamata-pitted, or whatever you like!
50% Aji peppers, cored, deseeded
To this “base”, add capers (optional), celery-chopped, garlic (I press fresh garlic), olive oil, red wine vinegar, black pepper a little dry basil.
Put in a food processor and make a chunky spread, stopping to scrape down the sides and adjust liquids, if needed.

This can be frozen, if desired. It’s pretty addictive! Great on toast, crackers, sandwiches, lots more.

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The “after” looks so sad! Still, it is winter.

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Yes, and we will have highs in the 40’s and lows in the 30’s this week, which is considered pretty cold around here. They grew so well that I’m not so worried if it doesn’t make it, and I have to start over.

I don’t think so, shrinkrap - I have tried that in the past, with mixed success, but my conclusion has been that growing fresh from seed is best for me, on balance. “Over-winter” here in San Diego is pretty much “leave them outside”, as the winter is pretty mild. They will survive and grow back, but results are mixed, so I’d rather take my chances with new plants, given my limited growing space.

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Yeah, and that’s just what’s left after a few months of taking the ripe ones. Then suddenly, they all decided to get ripe. Thanks for the preserve ideas - I have been looking at various salsa and sauce recipes to use them up. Perhaps one last batch of fermented hot sauce featuring Aji amarillo!

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I’m drying some in my new “airfyer” which has a dehydration setting.

Nice! Looks like you got some pretty big Aji! The Peruvians use the dried Aji Amarillo, calling them “mirasol”. Mirasol is confusing, since there are a few peppers, in different countries, called that.
Gastón Acurio’s book “Peru the Cookbook” has a lot of recipes using fresh and/or dried Aji. Unfortunately, the English version does not list the Peruvian names for dishes, so it’s hard to find classic, iconic recipes; Aji Gallina is listed as “Chicken Chili”. So, I’m slowly making a separate index, so I can find recipes using their local names.

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Keep in mind Sugar Rush Peach and any Capsicum baccatum can cross with Aji Amarillo. The cross may be excellent, but once you mix up the gene pool, it’s hard to insure pure stock.

That being said, since Sugar Rush Peach is way more tolerant of heat, it might be useful as a parent to intentionally cross Aji Amarillo, maybe going back to Aji Amarillo once or twice, to get the flavor of the Aji, but heat tolerance of the Sugar Rush Peach. Lemon drop is another heat tolerant C. baccatum, which might work to breed a sturdier Aji. Good grief…do I dare take on another plant project? LOL!

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Yeah, I’m afraid we’ll never know what happened for sure, but the end result was positive. I still have tons of plump, orange peppers on the plants, which have now lost all their leaves. We keep using them in every meal we can think of. Thanks for the seeds you sent - I’ll be crossing my plants with yours, plus against the original Aji plant I purchased, we we’ll have an Aji something that is vigorous and tasty.

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Does anyone have any recommendations for seed source? Thank you :blush:

Welcome LaChiui_C!

If you email me your address, and you’re in the USA, I can mail you some Aji Amarillo seeds. I grew a lot of them a couple years back and harvested a lot of seeds, which are kept cold in a seed bank. Outside of the US, there may be laws controlling seed shipments.

rob.botanique is the first part of the email. Finish that with @gmail.com and that’s the best way to contact me. There’s no charge or cost.

Originally, all my seed came from Peru, several collections to mix up the genetics. These are all the “Escabeche” form, the most common, widely used type in Peru.

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