Aji Benito Pepper Review

January 18, 2022 | Article Topics:

I’m a sucker for a pepper that not only packs some moderate heat, but also a good bit of sweetness – a balance that is hard to find in most varieties. The Aji Benito, a native of Bolivia, is a pepper that provides that fruity sweetness with a medium level of burn for an experience that teases and excites.

While the Aji Benito plant is capable of growing upwards of three feet in diameter, my particular plant was kept small due to over-crowding – or at least the Aji Chombo that decided to grow exceptionally large and smother out some of its neighbors a bit. At any rate, my plant still produced a pile of these tasty peppers.

Aji Benito pepper

The ripened fruit aren’t overly large, growing to about an inch and a quarter in length, but they do produce a fun little shape – sort of like a squished Aji Rico I grew a couple of seasons ago. The red skin has a slight wrinkle and provides a nice crunch with each bite. The interior has a good number of seed bunched around the placenta.

The aroma also reminds of the Aji Rico, with subtle grass notes, soft sweetness and a distant fruitiness. While the aroma is a bit subdued, the flavor presents more fruity traits to go along with a nice sweetness before everything fades to a generic red bell pepper character. It’s not unpleasing by any means.

Aji Benito pepper

Making your way past the juicy intro to the Aji Benito, the heat level on these is next to nil the further from the placenta you get. The closer you get to that spongey core, the more heat there is, though even then it’s of a medium nature with a light sting on the tongue. The soft burn doesn’t last too long before you’re itching to take another bite. Due to the satisfying crunch of biting into one of these peppers and the sweet fruitiness, I found myself snacking on the Aji Benito right off the plant more than I did using it in sauces. It did find its way into some salsa a few times which was a nice use of its mild burn.