a small dish of bright red poppers

What are Peppadew peppers?

Peppadew peppers have rapidly ascended the culinary ladder, with their intriguing blend of sweet and spicy captivating palettes worldwide.

What are Peppadew peppers?

Peppadew peppers, also known as Sweet Piquanté peppers, are a sweet and pickled pepper hailing from South Africa. “Peppadew” specifically refers to a popular brand name pickled peppers from the Limpopo province. The name is a combination of the dual description of the pepper, “sweet as dew” and “peppery”.

These small, flavorful gems are not just any pepper – they are pickled to perfection, capturing a balance of sweet, tangy, and mildly spicy notes. Their signature taste and preparation method have allowed them to be a standout ingredient, elevating dishes from various cuisines around the world.

Facts about
Peppadew® Peppers

Heat level:
1,000 - 1,200
Capsicum baccatum

What type of pepper is a Peppadew?

Peppadew is not the name of a natural species but is rather a brand name for the Piquanté pepper. Specifically, Peppadews are derived from the Juanita pepper, a type of Piquanté pepper that underwent cultivation to attain its signature taste and appearance.

Appearance and characteristics

Characterized by its vibrant red hue, the Peppadew pepper stands out with its round and cherry tomato-like appearance. Measuring between 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter, its smooth, thin skin envelops a juicy, seed-filled interior. The Peppadew’s unique texture, a juxtaposition of its soft flesh and crisp outer layer, is integral to its culinary appeal.

Are Peppadew peppers spicy?

Peppadew peppers, while offering a delightful hint of spice, are relatively mild when placed on the Scoville scale, a standard measure of chili pepper heat. Often, they register between 1,000 to 1,200 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), which is far from the fiery levels of some other peppers, making them approachable for a broad range of palates.

Peppadews vs. jalapeno

When compared with the more familiar jalapeño, which typically falls between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, it’s evident that the Peppadew is gentler in heat. Beyond the heat, the taste palette of these two peppers is distinct. While jalapeños have a fresh, verdant taste with a sharp heat, Peppadew peppers introduce a more complex profile of sweetness paired with a tangy zing, enhancing their versatility in culinary applications.

What do they taste like?

The taste of Peppadew peppers is a harmonious blend of sweet, tangy, and mild spiciness. Their sweetness, reminiscent of bell peppers, is beautifully counterbalanced by a subtle acidity. This duality, coupled with a gentle heat, results in a distinct and memorable taste profile. The complexity of their flavor has led to their inclusion in a myriad of dishes, adding depth and intrigue to any meal they grace.

Common ways to use Peppadew peppers

Peppadew peppers are incredibly versatile in the culinary world. Many savor them straight from the jar as a zesty snack, while others incorporate their sweet and tangy flavors into salads and pizzas. They’re also a favorite for stuffing, with creamy cheeses or spiced meats being particularly popular fillings, offering a delightful contrast to the pepper’s inherent taste.

Pairing suggestions

When it comes to pairing, Peppadew peppers shine brightly. Their distinct profile complements a range of foods, from sharp cheeses to grilled meats. In the beverage domain, their tangy nature pairs wonderfully with light white wines or crisp beers, further testifying to their ability to elevate any culinary experience.

Substitutes for Peppadew peppers

If your recipe calls for Peppadews, but you aren’t able to find them in stores, other mild pickled peppers can be substituted like cherry peppers and pimentos. However, Peppadews tend to be sweeter than other commercially available pickled peppers, so you might want to add honey or sugar to more closely mimic the taste.

Where to buy Peppadew peppers

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Peppadew peppers aren’t always available in American grocery stores, so you may want to look for a local African grocer or buy them online.

Common questions

How do you store Peppadew peppers after opening a jar?

Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate Peppadew peppers in their brine and ensure the jar is sealed tightly to maintain freshness.

Can you grow Peppadew peppers in your garden?

While you can cultivate Piquanté peppers, the specific preparation that results in the Peppadew product is a unique process. Simply growing the pepper doesn’t guarantee the distinct taste of a Peppadew.

Are Peppadew peppers vegan?

Yes! In their pickling and preservation process, Peppadew peppers do not utilize any animal-derived ingredients, making them suitable for a vegan diet.