Ají Limo (Lemon Drop)

Ají Limo (Lemon Drop)


Scientific Classification

Capsicum baccatum

Heat rating in Scovilles:

30000 – 50000

Also known as Lemon Drop, Hot Lemon, Ají limon or Kellu Uchu, the ‘Aji Límo’ (pronounced ah-hee lee-mo) is one of the most flavorful of the Andean peppers. The bright yellow, crinkled, cone-shaped fruits are about 2½” long and 1/2″ wide and mature from green to yellow.

Its name means “Lima pepper,” in reference to the Peruvian city. Its distinctive citrus flavor and the bright yellow color of the ripe pods immediately bring to mind the crisp aromas of lemons and limes.

Several seed companies that sell ‘Aji Límo’ have renamed it. In fact, many years ago, when the pepper first came into circulation in the United States, its name was mistakenly written as aji limón (“lemon pepper”), which may be why its common commercial name is ‘Lemon Drop.’

The Aji Límo belongs to the species Capsicum baccatum, which are first cousins to our common bell peppers. As a group, baccatums are noted for their distinctive flavors and tolerance of cold weather. This is one reason why they have become extremely popular in England, where cool nights can stunt the growth of many peppers.

A number of books about peppers have created the misconception that aji is a specific type of pepper. “Aji” is a Spanish transliteration of axi, the Arawak word for pepper. “Aji” has become a general term throughout South America for peppers regardless of species or variety.

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