What are Aji Pineapple peppers?
Peruvian aji peppers are well known for their flavor. Most have a delicious fruitiness that leans towards tropical, and the Aji Pineapple is no exception Its flavor is reminiscent of pineapple – fruity and sweet. That, with its very eatable medium heat (20,000 to 30,000 Scoville heat units), make this chili a great choice for fresh use – from tropical salsas and hot sauces to salads and even sandwiches. Though finding these chilies may be a challenge outside of Peru may be a challenge.
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Aji Pineapple fast facts
- Scoville heat units (SHU): 20,000 – 30,000 SHU
- Median heat: 25,000 SHU
- Origin: Peru
- Capsicum species: Baccatum
- Jalapeño reference scale: 3 to 12 times hotter
- Use: Culinary
- Size: 2 to 3 inches long, pendant-like
- Flavor: Fruity, Sweet, Tropical
How hot is the Aji Pineapple pepper?
Its Scoville heat range runs from 20,000 to 30,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) – meanng it has more than its fair share of kick. Compared to our jalapeño reference point, the Aji Pineapple is three to twelve times spicier than a jalapeño pepper. Think of it sitting between an upper-level serrano pepper (10,000 to 23,000 SHU) and a very mild (for its range, 30,000 to 50,000 SHU) cayenne pepper. If you like spicy food, this is a range that’s quite enjoyable to play with in the kitchen. You get heat that doesn’t overwhelm the flavor.
The Aji Pineapple does fall below the spiciness of what’s perhaps the most popular aji pepper – the Aji Amarillo. It has the same range as a cayenne pepper, 30,000 to 50,000 SHU, so the Aji Pineapple at its absolute height will only reach the bare minimum spiciness for an Aji Amarillo.
What does the Aji Pineapple look like and taste like?
It’s a slim, pendant-like chili pepper that grows two to three inches in length. The chilies age from green to a lovely yellow hue, gaining sweetness (and heat) through the maturation process. If you want the full flavor, wait until these chilies hit their mature yellow color.
And speaking of flavor – the Aji Pineapple is exactly as named. There’s a delicious tropical fruitiness to them, quite like the flavor of pineapple. Aji peppers as a whole are some of the tastiest hot peppers on the planet, and this chili certainly doesn’t disappoint. The flavor and heat pair quite nicely as the moderate spiciness allows the real flavor here to really shine. Many of the fruitier peppers on the pepper scale sit well above it in terms of heat, like the habanero or scotch bonnet. So if your turned off by extra-hot chilies, but your looking for that signature tropical sweetness — this aji is a perfect pairing.
How can you use them?
This is a terrific chili pepper for fresh use. Try it in tropical salsas and hot sauces. You can also use them in salads (especially fruit salads where they are a natural pairing) and sandwiches where their sweetness can be a nice balance. We also like the sweet flavor here paired with saltier meats like ham, especially in its perfect form – bacon.
Where can you buy Aji Pineapple peppers?
You won’t find these in stores as it is not commonly cultivated outside of its native Peru. If you’re lucky enough to be close to a chili farm, check what they have in stock. Or if you’re looking for a deliciously sweet chili pepper to grow yourself, you can buy Aji Pineapple seeds online very easily (Amazon). It may not be a common chili pepper, but the flavor here will make you a true fan for life.