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Shishito Pepper

Photo by Bob Webster

This popular pepper is a sweet, East Asian variety of the species Capsicum annuum. It is known as kkwari-gochu "groundcherry pepper" in Korea due to its wrinkled surface resembling groundcherries.

It is a finger-long, slender and thin-walled pepper. Although it turns from green to red when ripening, it is usually harvested green. Name refers to the fact that the tip of the chili pepper looks like the head of a lion (supposedly). In Japanese it is often abbreviated to just shishitō.

Photo by Bob Webster

About one out of every ten peppers is spicy due to exposure to sunlight, soil conditions and other environmental factors.
For cooking, poke a hole in it beforehand to keep expanding hot air from bursting the pepper. It may be skewered then broiled, grilled or pan-fried in oil, stewed in a soy sauce or simply eaten raw as a condiment or salad. It is thin-skinned and will blister and char easily compared with thicker-skinned varieties of peppers. Sautéing it in olive oil is easy and delicious.

Enjoys full sun and water moderately. USDA Hardiness Zones 4 -12.


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