There’s a reason why people around the world, including me, have taken a huge liking to spicy food. That kick on your tongue the moment that spicy, hot pepper flavor invades the entirety of your taste buds is a good and pleasant kind of pain that people keep coming back to every time.
A spice favorite in my kitchen is shishito peppers. Not my entire family loves very spicy food, so shishito peppers are the perfect peppers that aren’t too spicy. In fact, they are known to be mild than most of the other peppers, but other pods can also pack a punch.
Read on as introduce you to what they are, how to make and grow shishito peppers, and the many dishes (and side dishes) I make them with.
What are Shishito Peppers?
Shishito peppers are a variety of peppers that commonly come in green and red colors. They originate in Asia, specifically East Asia, and are characterized by their small size and wrinkly appearance.
Its name shishito originated from the Japanese word shishi, which means lion, which is how its tip usually looks like. In Korea, shishito peppers are known as groundcherry peppers.
How to Grow Shishito Peppers?
If you’re planning to grow shishito peppers, you’re on the right track. Shishito peppers are easily grown in your home garden, and they also give you a bunch of peppers in one yield.
When learning how to grow shishito peppers, remember that these tiny, hot beasts love the warmth and hot weather, so don’t plant them outside when it’s still cold. Using a heat mat will also improve germination. They grow best in full sun and well-draining soil.
Do not overcrowd them too. Place them at least 18 inches apart. Take note of the weather and when it becomes cold, cover them with a row cover to protect them.
Water them deeply in the soil and not the plant itself, and remove weeds as they sprout around your peppers.
How Hot are Shishito Peppers
On the spicy pepper scale, shishito peppers are hotter than bell peppers but much, much milder than jalapenos. Jalapenos range at around 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville, while shishito peppers wander around the 100 to 1,000 Scoville.
The Scoville scale is the unit of measure of pungency and spiciness of chili peppers, with pure capsaicin at 16,000,000 SHU.
How to use Shishito Peppers
There are so many ways how to prepare shishito peppers!
Did you know you can pickle shishito peppers? Following the usual pickling process, cut your shishito peppers at a maximum of 1-inch thick. Pour your sliced shishito peppers into the jar, leaving a headroom, and fill with your brine.
You can mix water, vinegar, salt, black peppercorn, sugar, and garlic for the brine. Bring the brine to a boil, and pour over your jar with shishito peppers.
Another idea on what to do with shishito peppers is by sauteing them. Place oil over a pan to medium heat, and add whole shishito peppers, then sprinkle with salt and black pepper for 4 to 6 minutes.
You can also enjoy bacon-wrapped shishito peppers, or have them roasted and grilled, which we will discuss shortly.
How to Cook Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers are star appetizers, especially when they are roasted. So, how to roast shishito peppers? Here’s how.
High and quick. These are the two ways to best roast shishito peppers. They should be cooked quickly on high heat to remain firm but still have those charred blisters. Cooking them for too low and long will make them wilt, which is the last thing you would want for these peppers.
On a stovetop, heat a large skillet to high heat. Meanwhile, place the whole shishito peppers in a bowl and drizzle with oil and salt. Toss them until all peppers are coated.
Pour the pepper into the skillet, let them char on the bottom, and then stir until blistered and cooked.
Another way of cooking shishito peppers is by grilling. Here’s how to grill shishito peppers:
Using an indoor or outdoor grill, preheat it to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, place the peppers in a mixing bowl and add them with oil, salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
Place the shishito peppers in the grill pan, directly atop the heat for 6-8 minutes while flipping occasionally. Make sure they are blistered and charred, then season or pair with sauces.
How to Store Shishito Peppers
Shishito peppers aren’t hard to store and keep. You can just leave them in your crisp drawer. If you want to store them for a more extended period, you can keep them frozen in an airtight container, but I wouldn’t recommend keeping vegetables for longer than 3 to 6 months in the freezer.
When stored, store them uncovered and never in a plastic bag because this will cause air to be trapped and shishito peppers to spoil quicker.
How Long do Shishito Peppers Last
You can still consume shishito peppers safely for two weeks before they go bad when freshly picked. Observe their texture and physical appearance if you feel like the shishito peppers have been on your crisp drawer for quite some time. If the peppers seem softer, they’re most likely to be near spoiling, so it’s best to use them right away or just discard them all at once.
When sliced and sealed in an airtight container, frozen shishito peppers should last about a year.