If you are tired of growing the same old jalapeños and sweet bells, the aji fantasy pepper may be just what you need. This pepper comes from the Capsicum baccatum species and has unique flavor profile.
The bizarre, quirky shape of the aji fantasy is also an attractive feature, somewhat resembling a top hat. The creamy-white color is also a beautiful and unique thing to see in the veggie garden!
So, in this article I’ll share everything I know about the aji fantasy, including its origin, heat, flavor, and how to grow your own. Let’s get into it!
The aji fantasy was developed over a 5+ year period in Finland by Jukka Fatalii. The variety was developed for high productivity, delicious flavor, and a low-medium heat level.
Fatalii claims that the aji fantasy is a good example of “what baccatum chili can be.” I couldn’t agree more, since this is one of the most impressively productive pepper plants we have ever grown.
Flavor and heat level
The flavor of the aji fantasy is unlike anything you can buy from grocery stores here in the US. This chili has a distinctly fruity flavor, and is very sweet.
The heat level of the aji fantasy is low-medium spicy, likely around 10,000-15,000 SHUs on the Scoville scale. This places them slightly hotter than your average jalapeño pepper.
Tip: If you remove the placenta and seeds, the aji fantasy flesh is almost heat-free. Nearly all of the spice can be removed by taking the innards out (if you prefer a non-spicy experience)!
Seeds and growing
If you live in the UK, the best source for aji fantasy seeds is FataliiSeeds.net. However, if you live in the US, you may need to shop elsewhere due to shipping limitations.
Once you have some seeds, growing the aji fantasy is not much different from growing other varieties. However, you may wish to start your seeds 1-2 weeks earlier than other types to allow more time for the pods to ripen (they can take a long time!).
Additionally, C. baccatum types can benefit from a tall stake/trellis, or a tomato cage for support. The aji fantasy pepper can grow to be very tall, becoming top-heavy as the fruits begin to form.
The aji fantasy is highly productive. A single plant produced over 100 pods before the season was over – it just wouldn’t stop pumping out fruits!
Since our plant was so productive, many of our aji fantasy peppers were frozen whole. This is a great way to preserve the harvest into the winter months, especially when you use a vacuum sealer.
Here are some other uses:
- Roasted with other veggies
- Fresh salsa
- Fermented hot sauce/mash
- Dehydrated for powder
- Frozen for use throughout the year
The fruity flavor is different from your average grocery store pepper, so you’ll just have to try the aji fantasy to fully understand. However, I think you’ll be happily surprised by how versatile and useful this variety can be.
I hope this article inspires you to try growing the aji fantasy pepper yourself. This plant was impressive to watch grow in our garden in almost every way possible!