The Datil is an exceptionally hot pepper. Datils are similar to habanerous in strength but have a sweeter and fruitier flavor. The level of their spiciness can vary from 100,000 to 300,000 on the Scoville scale. When mature, these peppers are yellow-orange in color and 3.5 in long.
Datil peppers are planted in various regions in United States of America and other countries. But, most of these peppers are cultivated in St. Augustine, Florida. The plant has been cultivated in this region since the 18th region. It is believed that the plant was introduced in this region by slave workers from Minorca from the Caribbean region. This pepper is almost identical to a West African pepper called fatal or fatalii. It is very rare to find this plant outside St. Augustine region but it can be grown anywhere indoors.
The fruit and seeds are only available from datil gardeners. You can also buy bottled hot sauces made from datil pepper can be found in designated stores or through online stores.
Datil plants grow up to 5 feet tall. The plants require sunshine and should be watered regularly. It takes 5 months for the plant to reach maturity. The plants bloom as green peppers but eventually turn orange-yellow when they mature. The longer you leave the peppers the hotter they become.
You can pick datil peppers when they are green. You can also wait for them to ripen further on the plant. They turn orange-yellow when they are ripe. You may notice purple spots on the green peppers. This is normal for these peppers. The yellow peppers are hotter than the green ones. Thus you can pick the green ones if you can’t cope with the ripe yellow ones.
How to store Datil peppers
You should freeze peppers that you are not using. This will help to preserve their freshness. Put the peppers in a freezer bag and then tightly close it. Keep the bag in the freezer. This freezer can preserve the freshness of the peppers for about one year. You need to ensure that the peppers are used immediately after defrosting because they will get softer after being defrosted.
Datils make a unique and flavor filled hot sauce. The datils are also sweet than other types of peppers. You can add these peppers to spice up your foods as you would with any other type of pepper. Datil can be dangerous when taken raw. It can lead to side effects such as diarrhea, dizziness, a numb, heartburn and intense burning sensation in the mouth. You should also be careful when preparing datil pepper-rich recipes. This is because juices from these peppers can cause irritation when they come into contact with mucous membranes such as the eyes.
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Photo Credit: “Datil” by Paullassiter via Wikimedia Commons