Datil peppers first came on my radar when I got a free packet of seeds from Baker’s Creek Rare Seeds. And since I see posts and questions about Datil peppers every day in the Baker’s Creek Facebook group, I thought I would do a deep dive into everything you might want to know about these hot peppers!
Facts about Datil Peppers
What are datil peppers?
The origin of datil peppers is a bit murky. Some say they originated in St. Augustine, Florida, but they may have been brought over to Florida from Minorca or Chile. The fruit grows to be about 3.5″ long and matures into a beautiful orange-yellow color. Some people also use the name “datil” pepper interchangeably with cabai rawit merah, which is commonly used in Indonesia as well as in Central and South America.
Regardless of origin, they are a popular option to grow at home and are found in a few commercially available hot sauces and chili powders.
How to grow datil peppers
Unless you live in a climate with a very long and warm growing season, you will probably want to start your datil pepper seeds indoors about 8-12 weeks before your last frost date. I start my seeds in a tray and then transplant them into square 3.5″ pots. Peppers require warmth to germinate properly, so it’s a good idea to use heat mats unless your growing space is particularly warm. Once the seedlings emerge, I also use grow lights for 8-12 hours a day to make sure they get enough light.
Then, about 2-4 weeks after my last frost date (which usually happens around Memorial Day in Northern Illinois, zone 5b), I begin by leaving them outside for a few hours at a time in indirect sunlight and then gradually increase the duration until they are outside in the full sun and overnight. After that, pop them in the ground, a garden bed, or a 5-gallon bucket with nutritious soil, and watch them grow happily!
Datil peppers are hot, complex, a little bit sweet, and fruity. The heat can be compared to the heat of Habaneros, so they are noticeably hot and may be too spicy for people who are sensitive to heat.
These peppers are great for heating up any dish. They can be used raw in fresh salsas and salads, pickled, jellied, or added into a spicy curry sauce.
Products that use datil peppers
While datil peppers aren’t the most widely used peppers in commercial products, there are a few hot sauces that include this spicy pepper if you want to give them a try. Cowgill’s has a datil hot sauce as does Captain Sorensen’s. Datil peppers are also popular for growing at home and can be made into homemade hot sauces or chili powders.
Seeds to grow at home
I got my datil pepper seeds from Baker’s Creek as a free seed with my order. You can purchase the seeds here, or when you place an order, there’s a chance they will include it for free (although there’s no guarantee). You can also purchase them on Amazon or Pepper Joe’s.