Shortly after transplanting all of my seedlings earlier this season, I set about checking out some local garden centers and nurseries in search of something different than those pepper varieties that I had already put in the ground. I’m not always on the hunt for superhots — just something different. And that’s how I happened across a single Aji Rico plant during one such trip. Having never heard of the pepper prior, I took a chance and made the purchase.

From what I’ve found online, the Ahi Rico is a relatively new plant. It’s a hybrid (Capsicum baccatum species) developed to ripen early for shorter growing season. Now, I don’t believe I really got that many fruit early in the season. According to my records, the first ripe pepper was in early June (not the first plant to deliver even then) and didn’t really start producing quality numbers until mid-July. At the time of this review the single plant has produced 128 ripe peppers.

Aji Rico Pepper

As you can see above the Aji Rico is a fairly medium sized pepper and not really all that unique in appearance. It’s torpedo shaped with relatively smooth skin, though a couple of peppers have had small barbs here and there. For the most part, each pepper picked has looked identical to its siblings.

Once sliced open, the Aji Rico displays a decent amount of placenta that stretches the full length of the pod. The skin is thick walled and crunchy when you start snacking on it. There are a good number of seeds present, but they don’t really impart much of a flavor. A light, fruity and earthy aroma is presented upon inspection. It’s not overtly aromatic by any means and doesn’t really show much of a sign of heat as expected.

Aji Rico Pepper

I love a pepper like the Aji Rico. It’s crunchy and one that only puts off a mild amount of heat. I can snack on a handful of these in a sitting — in fact, I’ve done just that on occasion while waiting for the grill to heat up. The pepper is juicy with a distinct red bell pepper flavor that also has soft fruity notes, a light sweetness and earthy tones. The flavor is simple yet quite enjoyable.

Aji Rico Pepper

As for the heat, this is a very mild pepper. The warmth builds ever-so-slowly to just a heated tingle on the tip of the tongue as the juices carry a soft glow down the back of the throat. The burn is pleasant and lasts a good long while without doing any major damage — tastebud-wise or mental.

The Aji Rico is a nice little pepper. It’s tasty and 100% snack worthy. When it comes to food, it’s a versatile pepper, offering up its services in salsas and sauces, providing just a soft heat to anything it’s been added to. I love that I can just pull one off the plant and chomp away while harvesting its brethren.