The SHISHITO pepper has become one of the most popular Japanese vegetables in the United States. The name is a combination of two Japanese words: "SHISHI," which means "Guardian Lion," and "TOGARASHI," which means "chili pepper." This is because the tip of the pepper resembles a lion's head, at least according to some people. Do you agree?
The SHISHITO pepper is small and easy to cook. While most SHISHITO peppers are mild, some may be spicy. Some people say that one in ten peppers is hot, but we have noticed a higher ratio of spicy peppers during hot summers at Suzuki Farm.
The reason why some SHISHITO peppers turn spicy is still unknown. The most compelling theory is that certain climate conditions, such as dry air and high temperatures, may affect SHISHITO pepper growth. Another theory is that they become spicy when harvested later than usual. If you are growing SHISHITO peppers in your garden, it may be better to water them periodically to provide a stress-free environment for them.
At Suzuki Farm, we grow SHISHITO peppers from June to October. Once in a while, we try to guess which peppers are spicy and which are mild, and we are mostly correct, but not 100% of the time.