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10 Things About Fish Peppers You Should Know

by Mary Ginder June 17, 2016

    1. The fish pepper can range from mild to very spicy. Some say it can get up to 12x hotter than a jalapeno pepper when fully ripened.

    2. Fish Pepper plants carry the same recessive genes that cause albinism.

    3. Fish Peppers are believed to be a mutation of either Serrano or Cayenne peppers.

    4. You can tell the difference in heat by the color of the pepper. Fish peppers start out white when they're at their mildest, then turn green with stripes of light and dark hues, and eventually red, which is when they're at their spiciest. 

    5. On a single plant, you can see a mix of all of these leaf and pepper variations. Their unique color patterns are what make them so ornamental in a garden or planter box.  

    6. Fish peppers are said to have arrived in North America by way of the Caribbean around the early 19th Century. They were immensely popular among the African-American community in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and the Chesapeake Bay region.

    7. It's believed free African-Americans were the first to harvest and distribute them around the Mid-Atlantic region. 

    8. Most research indicates the fish pepper was primarily used in oyster and crab houses along the East Coast, hence the name. Chefs loved using white fish peppers as a secret ingredient in cream sauces for their ability to add a touch of heat without affecting the color.  

    9. As urbanization took hold, the fish pepper virtually disappeared until the 1940s when a black folk painter named Horace Pippin from West Chester, PA began exchanging his collection of old seeds with H. Ralph Weaver for bee stings to treat his arthritis. 

    10. The seeds were eventually passed down to Weaver’s grandson, William Woys Weaver, who finally made the fish pepper available to the public in 1995 through the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook

We want to thank Blackberry Pines Farm in Alabama for introducing us to these unique heirloom peppers! We hadn't heard of them before, but we fell in love immediately and want to share the love with you. Check out our small batch limited release Fish Pepper sauce before it's gone!   


Mother Earth News
Pepper Scale
Garden Betty
This Must Be the Taste 

Mary Ginder
Mary Ginder


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