You’ve probably encountered these peppers in brine at a pizza place or restaurant. The combination of sweetness with fruity heat can complement many meals, but what is a Roquito pepper, and can you grow Roquito peppers?
Yes, you can grow Roquito peppers but keep in mind “Roquito” is not the name of the pepper you will be growing. Roquito is the brand name of these marinated sweet and mildly spicy, tear-shaped peppers. While the Roquito brand keeps this information close to the chest, the pepper likely used is the Biquinho pepper, which can more easily be sourced and grown.
Read on to find out what the Roquito pepper is and how to grow them.
What are Roquito peppers?
“Roquito peppers” refers to the brand “Roquito,” which has created a marinated pepper condiment. The actual peppers are grown in Peru and are a variety of chili pepper that appears like a teardrop in shape and can be red, orange, or yellow. The pepper most likely used is a Biquinho pepper, which has the same shape, color range, and relative size as the Roquito peppers.
They are sweeter than spicy and are commonly found in South American or Mexican dishes to add a peppery sweetness to dishes.
Are Roquito peppers hot?
Roquito peppers are not known for their heat as a jalapeño or habanero pepper would be. Instead, these Peruvian peppers have a fruity, smoky flavor conducive to blending in sauces, cut for salsas, or roasted or marinated as a topping to pizza, rice bowls, or almost any savory application where one might appreciate a mild heat.
Assuming the Roquito brand uses Biquinho peppers, these peppers only hit about 500-1,000 on the Scoville heat scale. For reference, a jalapeño can range from 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville heat units. You can see how Biquinho peppers are hardly scratching the surface of what most people would think of as “spicy.” Even if you are a heat-averted person, these peppers should still be an enjoyable “sweet heat.”
How can I grow Roquito peppers?
Unfortunately, the “Roquito” peppers are commonly marinated or brined, which loses all viability of seeds that may be able to be harvested.
Since the pepper is a brand, it is difficult or impossible to find the exact Roquito pepper seeds available for purchase to sow yourself. Therefore, the best option is to find the pepper likely used by Roquito, such as the Biquinho pepper, and grow them yourself following the directions on the seed packet or by using the following tips:
You should start these seeds inside around early spring. Using a soil mix appropriate for seedlings, plant the seeds roughly 1/4 inch deep into moistened soil. Water or spritz the soil to settle any air pockets. Keep the soil moist during this time, and provide a warm area and bright, indirect light.
You can cover each seed with a dome-like structure to keep a higher humidity level, as this is beneficial for the growth of seeds and young plants. If you have one available, you can place your seeds on top of a heating pad to provide warmth that radiates from the bottom, as peppers tend to germinate best in temperatures between 75ºF and 90ºF. If you don’t have this, your seeds will still germinate, but it might take longer.
Grow lights can be used about 4-6 inches above the seeds for 12-16 hours a day until the seed begins to sprout.
Once your seeds have sprouted, continue caring for them as you have. Move your grow light a few inches higher to accommodate leaf growth, as you don’t want to burn out your plant’s young photosystems.
Use your best judgment to decide when to transplant your peppers; ensure they have a strong stem and at least 4-8 robust leaves. To avoid shock, help acclimate or “harden off” your plants before keeping them outside permanently by putting them in a sunny spot outdoors or a bright, open window for 4-6 hours a day.
Exposure to wind and sunlight will help your plant transition more quickly once planted outside. You will be able to move your seedlings to larger pots or into the ground to continue growing them until harvest.
To transplant outside, find a sunny area in your yard that will get enough light throughout the day to establish your peppers. Peppers like to have at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day to grow strong and provide a good yield.
Plant your seedlings about 24 inches apart if you’re planting in the ground or a large pot with at least 12 inches in diameter. Take care not to overcrowd your container if choosing this method. Plant your pepper plant at about the same depth on the stem as before.
Keep your plants hydrated by watering them when the top of the soil is dry. The frequency can depend on the temperature and how much direct sun your plants get. Water during the morning hours so your plant has sufficient hydration throughout the day, and fertilize your plant using a balanced fertilizer. Follow the product’s directions and frequency of application for best results.
Your plant will fruit between 55-150 days, depending on if you started with a seedling or seed. Beginning with an established seedling will take less time but might be more difficult to find in plant nurseries.
Once you’ve harvested your peppers, you can marinate, pickle, or roast them and add them raw to foods like salsas and salads.
Roquito brand peppers have sensationalized a Peruvian grown pepper known as the Biquinho pepper. This is the pepper “Roquito” fans will have to grow to make their favorite marinated pepper at home.
Easy as any other pepper is to grow, Biquinho peppers are a unique and tasty addition to anyone’s summer garden.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
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