Rocoto Pepper (Ají Rocoto, Locoto)

Rocoto Pepper (Ají Rocoto, Locoto)


Scientific Classification

Capsicum pubescens

Heat rating in Scovilles:

50000 – 250000

The Rocoto Pepper has thick walls, resembles a miniature bell pepper or golf ball-sized apple, although the shape and size can range significantly with Rocotos, as can the heat. Colors are Orange, Red and Yellow. Yellow is the hottest and the red is the most prolific. The most distinguishing feature of these peppers are their furry leaves and black seeds. Only peppers from the species C. pubescens have these traits.

This chili pepper is normally found in South America. It is among the oldest of domesticated chili peppers and has been cultivated in Bolivia and Peru for thousands of years. They can be found stuffed with a delicious ground beef mixture as “Rocoto Relleno”, simply grounded to use as a spice in soups and sauces, as paste or on the table of nearly every restaurant made into the powerful Huacatay hot sauce used by Peruvians on virtually any food. Cultivars include ‘Canario’ (yellow), ‘Peron’ (pear-shaped), and ‘Rocoto Longo’ (which was developed in the Canary Islands).

Rocoto plant are not the easiest to grow, and unlike other pepper plants, they don’t do well in very hot climates. If protected from cold nights (kept >50°F.), can grow into huge grape-like vines, up to 15 feet long that can be trellised.

TASTE: Very flavorful, light, crisp and fruity. Great for fresh salsas.

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