There are a lot of different kinds of pepper out there that can be perfect for a wide variety of dishes. One type of pepper that you may not know of, however, is the Shishito Pepper.
This is a pepper that originates from Asia, and it’s small, slender and has thin walls. These peppers will also change from green to red when they start to ripen, but people will usually harvest these peppers while they are still green.
What’s especially cool is that one in each ten shishito peppers may burn your tongue – they can be super spicy!
They feature skin that is very thin, and so it will blister and char with ease. This is useful as it means that cooking them is a cinch!
Growing Shishito Peppers
It’s usually pretty simple to buy starter shishito pepper plants. With that being said, you don’t actually need to buy a starter plant if you don’t want to. If you would prefer to have more of a challenge, you can grow these plants from seeds.
Before the spring rolls around, begin planting the seeds indoors. You should do this roughly eight weeks before the season changes. When the plant is in early stages of development, it generally tends to prefer to stay in warm soil. It can help to put them in a seed tray that has a clear lid. This way, the plant basically has its own mini greenhouse that it can stay in if you put it next to a window that gets a lot of sunlight.
Eventually, your plant will get stronger and stronger. At this point, you need to do something known as ‘hardening off.’ This is where you get them ready to go outside. It’s basically a process of getting the plants used to the change in weather and temperature. Put the plant outside for short periods of time to begin with. Then, as time goes on, you can increase the amount of time that the plant spends outside until eventually it gets used to it.
You will then need to find somewhere to plant it. This may seem complicated, but it’s super easy. Ideally, the spot that you plant it in needs to have complete access to sunlight for around 6 to 8 hours of the day. Thankfully, this plant holds up well against diseases and pests, which can give you one less thing to worry about. It will live its best life when it’s in the warm weather too, much like a lot of other pepper plants.
Knowing When to Harvest Shishito Peppers
You can usually tell when a Shishito pepper is ripe as it will turn from a green color to a red color. With that being said, most people will pick these peppers as they are still green rather than waiting for them to turn red.
Before you pick them though, they should at least be a dark and rich green color. You can usually cut them off the plant using some shears or scissors. It’s often difficult to pinch through or snap off the stalks on the plants so you will need something like a pair of shears to help you out.
Making Roasted Shishito Peppers
Roasted Shishito peppers can be super delicious! Thankfully there are a lot of awesome recipes for this dish online.
As it turns out, these peppers are pretty much the easiest thing out there to make. You don’t need to be an expert chef to pull these off! In most cases, all you really need is around 5 minutes of your time and 2 main ingredients – salt and oil.
Making Shishito Peppers In A Pan
Sometimes people don’t like to oven roast their peppers – that’s okay too. It’s also possible to cook your shishito peppers on the stove top rather than in an oven. This is especially useful if you don’t have an oven that you can use. The whole process is pretty similar anyway.
Ideally, you should be putting the pan on medium high heat as this will cause them to blister. If the heat is too low then the blistering isn’t going to happen. If it’s too high on the other hand then there’s a chance that the peppers will simply burn instead.
Instead, what you should do is get an oil or fat that’s highly tolerant to heat – avocado oil or ghee can often be a good choice. Then, heat up the pan, the fat and the peppers. Let them all cook and turn them on a regular basis to ensure that they don’t burn.
Eventually they will start to brown and blister. At this point, you can take them out of the pan, put some salt on them and they are all ready to eat!
Where You can Get Shishito Peppers?
In most cases, it’s usually better to grow shishito peppers. They have admirable growth during the summer and the peppers will even proliferate if you put them in the correct kind of soil.
Of course, you may be in a situation where you are unable to grow them. Perhaps you simply don’t want to grow them. That’s okay! Instead, you can generally just buy these peppers fresh. Go to a local farmer’s market during the summer months and you are sure to find some shishito peppers. You can also sometimes find them in Trader Joe’s on a seasonal basis. Just look in the refrigerated produce section to find them.
When Are These Plants in Season?
The season for shishito peppers is during the summer. This is when the plants experience their best growth and development.
Like many other plants, there are environments that your peppers will and will not like. For instance, these peppers are not fond of excessively hot weather. Sometimes excessively high temperatures can be detrimental to the plants and can stop them from producing peppers for quite some time. As it gets cooler during the fall the peppers will then come back because the weather isn’t too hot for them to handle. If you live in a particularly hot climate, then this cooling off period would be when the temperature is dipping to below 90 degrees.
Things That Work Well With Shishito Peppers
You can enjoy these peppers without having anything else with them, in all honesty. They taste mild and a little bit sweet in most cases, and they are delicious when roasted.
Of course, you may want to dip them in something that has a little more flavor. So what are your options? In reality, there are a lot of different choices for dips. If you want to keep your diet paleo but still have some delectable dips, there are a few options you can use. For instance, you can use soy glaze, using soy sauce instead of coconut aminos. Alternatively, you can use sesame ginger, garlic aioli and lemon tahini sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Eat Shishito Peppers Raw?
The great thing about shishito peppers is that they are versatile. You can cook them in a lot of different ways, including grilling, sauteing, deep frying and so much more. You may be surprised to learn this, but it’s even possible to eat them raw if you wish.
If you eat them raw, they taste a little sweet and have a delicious crisp texture. They are very similar to green peppers in terms of the texture. This is perfect if you want a quick snack to eat with your dips that we mentioned earlier!
Should You Refrigerate Shishito Peppers?
Peppers will need to be stored correctly once they are harvested if you want to keep them for a while. Ideally, you should put them in a plastic bag or in a paper bag that’s in the warmest part of the refrigerator. If you bought them or picked them fresh, they generally tend to last in the refrigerator for a period ranging up to two weeks.
If you aren’t going to eat the peppers straight away and you want to keep them for a couple of months, then it’s entirely possible to store them to make them last. You can freeze the peppers if you need to. To do this, remove the seeds, stems and the membranes of the pepper. Cut the pepper accordingly, put them on a tray where they aren’t touching each other and then freeze them until they become firm.
You can then put them in a freeze safe zip lock back and squeeze out the air. Then put them back in the freezer. It’s usually better to put them in the refrigerator for a day after you take them out of the freezer before using them. Alternatively, you can sometimes put them straight into your dish which will heat them up.
Make sure that you don’t eat the shishito peppers when they have gone bad, either. If you are noticing that the peppers are becoming soft, then that’s a good sign that they are beginning to go bad. If they are at this point then you should eat them immediately. They will be rendered completely unusable in a few days, at which point they will develop mold and look slimy. Toss them away if you notice this texture change.
Are Shishito Peppers Good In Chilli?
These peppers can be a great choice for chilli, especially if you want a chilli that’s pretty mild.
Watch out though – some of these peppers can be pretty spicy! Around one in ten shishito peppers is spicy.
What Vitamins Are In Shishito Peppers?
There are a lot of reasons to love shishito peppers. One of the main reasons that they are so widely loved – aside from their flavor – is for their nutritional content! The peppers tend to contain very few calories.
In addition to this, they will always contain vitamin A and C, folic acid, fiber and potassium. This makes them excellent if you need to increase your vitamin intake.