(Solanaceae capsicum annuum )
Shishito Peppers are a sweet, thin-walled pepper from Japan. They are alledged to have been introduced to Japan by the Portugese several hundred years ago. The original variety was hot and was thus named “Shishito” which mean “Chinese Lion.” Through selection the heat in the peppers was eliminated and today’s Shishito is mild.
I’ve grown Shishito several times and the plants are smallish (~20 inches) and compact. The peppers have numerous longitudinal irregular grooves which give them a ‘wrinkled’ appearance. One nickname for Shishito is “Wrinkled Old Man Pepper.” Each plant can produce dozens of peppers although in my garden they tend to be late producers.
Shishito have a delicate, mild flavor. They are excellent when prepared simply by grilling or stir frying. They are the taste equal of Padron peppers when fried and served with sea salt. They can also be eaten raw or pickled.
Shishito peppers can occasionally be found in specialty markets here in the United States where there are large Japanese communities. These Shishito peppers were organically grown in my garden in the Valley of the Moon. With luck and proper covers I can continue a modest harvest of Shishito until mid-November.
Vegetables of Interest, 2007