Peppadew is the trademark name for sweet piquanté peppers that are pickled and bottled by South African company Peppadew International Ltd. These peppers have a sweet flavor with a mild spice level and are sold in jars. They’re often used as a topping, condiment, or ingredient in dishes like pizza or sandwiches.
- Place of origin: South America by way of South Africa
- Other names: Sweet piquante pepper, Juanita pepper
- Common way to use it: As a condiment or pizza topping
What Are Peppadews?
Botanically, sweet piquanté peppers are known as Capiscum baccatum. They are one of the five species of domesticated chile pepper (the other four are annuum, chinense, frutescens, and pubescens). While piquante peppers originated in South America, they ended up in South Africa, where a grower began to pickle and sell the peppers under the brand name Peppadew in the 1990s.
Piquante peppers are not known for their natural heat but rather for their sweet flavor. The peppers clock in at between 1000 and 1200 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) on the Scoville scale, which measures the heat level of peppers.
Peppadews vs. Cherry Peppers
Piquante peppers and cherry peppers have a similar small size and tomato-like shape, but they’re different varieties. However, both are frequently pickled or marinated and used as condiments, snacks, or appetizers. While piquante are often stuffed with soft cheese, cherry peppers are frequently stuffed with cured meats and aged Italian cheeses like provolone.
Piquante peppers are sweeter and smaller than cherry peppers. Cherry peppers tend to be hotter, with the variety known as hot cherry pepper or Hungarian cherry pepper ranging from 2500 to 5000 SHU. Cherry bomb peppers, another similar variety, are a little milder, ranging from 1000 to 3000 SHU.
How to Cook With Peppadews
Peppadews or pickled piquante peppers are primarily used as a condiment, whole, sliced, or chopped, on a variety of dishes. Drain peppers and use them to top pizza, sandwiches, wraps, and salads, or incorporate them into snack plates, party trays, antipasti platters, and cheese or charcuterie boards. They’re often filled with soft, fresh cheeses like goat cheese or cream cheese.
Peppadews can also be used to flavor dips, spreads, salsas, dressings, soups, and sauces. The leftover pickling brine can also be used to add sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors to brines, marinades, and salad dressings.
Where to Buy Peppadews
Jarred peppadews can be purchased at well-stocked supermarkets, specialty food stores, and cheese shops alongside items like olives and artichoke hearts. They may also be found in bulk at the olive bar in markets with a prepared food section. You can also purchase them from many online retailers.
Fresh piquante peppers can be hard to come by, but it’s a good idea to check natural food stores, food co-ops, and farmers’ markets when the peppers come into season in late summer and early fall. (You’re much more likely to find fresh cherry peppers, which make a good if slightly spicier substitute.) Piquante pepper seeds, however, are relatively easy to find if you’d like to try growing some in your own garden.
Store fresh peppadews in a plastic bag in the crisper or vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Avoid getting them wet, which can cause them to spoil quickly. Fresh peppadews should be used within seven days of purchase.
Store sealed, shelf-stable jars of preserved peppadews in a cool, dry place such as your pantry or a kitchen cupboard for up to one year. After opening, keep leftover peppers submerged in their brine and store them in your refrigerator within two weeks.
Nutrition and Benefits
According to the company's information, peppadews are high in Vitamin C and relatively low in calories, most of which come from the sugar added to the pickling brine. A 3.5-ounce serving of drained peppadews contains moderate amounts of sugar (18.9 grams) and salt (.6 grams).