TREND ALERT: Shishito Peppers are Hot!

Well, at least one in ten peppers is said to be…

What you need to know about these unique peppers!

Shishito peppers are popping up on menus and retail shelves all over America. Their fast track to popularity has left some confused as to what these peppers are, where they came from and why they’re so hip in the foodie world. Here’s what you need to know:

Shishitos originally gained popularity in Japan where they were coined ‘shishito’ in reference to the tip of the chili pepper (Ù76;辛é76; tōgtarashi’) which looks like the head of a lion (ħ09;é76; shishi’), so the Japanese abbreviated the name to shishitō.

These small, slender, finger-long peppers are thin-walled and glossy with a unique ‘withered’ look. Fruit can grow up to 3-4″ long and turn from green to red as they ripen, but it is most popular to harvest and prepare the fruit while it’s still green. The Shishito pepper plant has a spreading habit and produces prolifically, making it adaptable for garden, greenhouse and/or open-field growing.

According to ‘pepper lore,’ it is said that that the occasional fruit will display heat. Rumor has it, about one out of every ten peppers is spicy. The occurrence of pungent fruit is induced by such factors as illumination and other stress that may predispose the peppers to turn spicy. This unique trait makes for an exciting treat with an interesting backstory!

Roasted, grilled, pickled, sliced or fried—these peppers are a great addition to soups, salads, tacos or grilled and served as an appetizer or snack!

Easy Preparation Tips:

1.  Poke a hole in the pepper before cooking to keep expanding hot air from bursting the pepper.

2. Shishitos may be skewered and grilled or pan-fried in oil or soy sauce.

3. The thin walls blister and char easily when roasted or grilled, taking on rich flavor — just add a sprinkle of salt and enjoy!