The Orange Rocoto Pepper is a pepper that many pepper lovers might not be familiar with, as it’s not found in many parts of the United States, but it is common in South American countries and a popular ingredient in South American recipes. The Orange Rocoto Pepper’s heat can range from 50,000 SHU, in the range of a rather spicy Cayenne to 300,000 Scoville units which rivals the Habanero, however the pepper is considered a hot pepper over all.
As indicated by the name, the Orange Rocoto Pepper is deep orange in color with small rounded pods closer to the shape of a Habanero than the pointed shape of a Jalapeño. One thing that might come as a surprise to someone cutting open an Orange Rocoto Pepper are the jet black seeds instead of white seeds found in many other pepper varieties. Pepper lovers looking for a new interesting pepper will not go wrong trying the Orange Rocoto Pepper.
The Orange Rocoto Pepper is a Peruvian heirloom pepper originating in the Andes mountains. While this pepper is just now making inroads into the North American markets and restaurants, it is well known south of the border and is a favorite pepper in Latin American dishes.
Taste and Smell
The taste of the Orange Rocoto Pepper is sweet when compared to many peppers, making it an excellent choice for sweet pepper salsas such as mango salsa. The smell of the Orange Rocoto Pepper has been compared to apples or mangos cementing the fruity impression the pepper gives many people.
Orange Rocoto Pepper is usually used in the fresh form, as the pepper pods are thick and considered hard to dry. However, the peppers do make an excellent choice for fresh salsa and the larger pods can be used for stuffed pepper recipes using meat or cheese and baked. The heat level on these peppers can vary widely as can all peppers so tasting before including in a dish is recommended to assure the desired heat level will be achieved.
Gardeners wishing to grow the Orange Rocoto Pepper should be aware this is not the most productive plant. Also the pepper plant requires plenty of sunlight. Space is also a consideration as the plant can grow up to six feet tall before setting pods. The plant is best grown in pots, but it can make a lovely addition to the patio with its purple flowers and thick fleshy leaves. Another plus of this variety of pepper is the fact it does not cross pollinate with other pepper varieties. In addition the plant is cold tolerant, but does not do well in a hard freeze.
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Photo Credit: Dustbowl Seed