White Wax Chilli

An Andean Aji

The White Wax (Aji crystal) Chilli falls under the C baccatum class of Chillies. When fresh these Chillies are known in Andean countries like Peru and Bolivia as Aji. When they are dried, they are called cusqueño. Capsicum baccatum probably originated in Peru or Bolivia, and have been consumed in this part of the world for thousands of years.

As with all Capsicum baccatum Chillies, White Wax Chillies have white flowers with green/ yellow markings on their inner petals. They grow to between 30 and 40 inches tall. The plant has a green stem and leaves. The fruit is pendant shaped and hangs downwards. The pods grow to between 3 and 4 inches long. They are about 1 inch thick when fully grown. The pods change from pale yellow to orange before becoming red. The flesh is firm

In line with other Chillies that fall under this species, White Wax Chillies have a fruity/citrus flavour. They are pickled when young or used in seafood with dishes like Ceviche.  They are also used in salsas and dried to make Chilli flakes and powders. Their Scoville heat rating is in the 12000 to 25000 SHU range.

A Chilli that falls under Capsicum baccatum that is similar to the White Wax is the  Aji Limone . Another Chilli that is thought to be closely related to the White Wax is the Italian Wax pepper . This Chilli is grown almost exclusively in Northern California, USA. It was probably originally a White Wax Chilli that became adapted to local growing conditions to become what it is today.

Image credit

Maja Dumat / CC BY 2.0 / via Flickr

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The use of Chillies in Peruvian cooking