A dietary plus, capsicums contain more vitamin A than any other food
plant. Aji provides an excellent source of vitamin C and the B vitamins and significant amounts of iron, thiamine, niacin, folate, potassium,
magnesium and riboflavin. Conforming to today's nutritional awareness, ajis are cholesterol-free, saturated fat-free, low calorie, low sodium and high in fiber. Capsicums increase metabolic rate and are excellent for the weight-conscious.
Add its flavorful warmth to cebiches, soups, sauces, savory foods, meat and poultry dishes, chutneys, dips, hors d'oeuvres and hot sauces. Use as a colorful festive garnish. Sprinkle chopped aji over dishes just before serving for extra piquancy and color. Once accustomed to pungent flavors, combine two or three varieties in the same dish to create a complex hot flavor.
To prepare: cut off stalks; slit body of the aji open; remove and discard
To store: refrigerate unwashed fresh ajis between paper towels or in a plastic or paper bag up to one week.
To freeze: slit open and remove seeds; dice or cut into strips or leave whole; store in freezer bags.
Aji - chile pepper is being used as a food flavoring, a coloring agent, a pharmaceutical ingredient, and in other innovative ways.
Aji - chile pepper is historically associated with the voyage of Columbus (Heiser 1976). Columbus is given credit for introducing chile to Europe, and subsequently to Africa and to Asia. On his first voyage, he encountered a plant whose fruit mimicked the pungency of the black pepper, Columbus called it red pepper because the pods were red. The plant was not the black pepper, but an unknown plant that was later classified as Capsicum.
Since its discovery by Columbus , chile has been incorporated into most of the world's cuisines.
Capsicum terminology is confusing. (Pepper, chili, chile, chilli, aji, paprika, and Capsicum are used interchangeably for plants in the genus Capsicum.) Capsicum investigators use chile, pepper, or aji, as vernacular terms. Pungency
The one attribute most typical of chiles is pungency and must be
considered one of its most important traits. Some have argued that pungency should be one of the five main taste sensories, along with
bitter, sweet, sour, and salty. Aji - chile pepper pungency is a
desirable attribute in many foods. In most parts of the world, pungency increases the acceptance of the insipid basic nutrient foods.