Sweet Peppers (Capsicum Chinense) are known in Spanish as Ajíes Dulces – They are native to Latin America and the Caribbean. These sweet peppers are bright green. However, when they are left long on the plant, they turn yellow, orange and red. They slightly resemble the habanero pepper in appearance but are sweet with a unique aroma and flavor. The Taíno Indians cultivated the sweet peppers in Puerto Rico. Therefore, our sweet peppers are an integral part of the Puerto Rican cookery.
I grow my own sweet peppers (ajíes dulces). When they are harvested, I cut them in halves and remove the seeds. I then place at least 8 halves of the sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) in a vacuum seal bag. After they are sealed, they are stored in the freezer for future use. Whenever I am preparing soups and stews that list sweet peppers as an ingredient, I have them readily available to add to my dish.
You can purchase them at your nearby Latin Market or learn How You Can Grow Ajíes Dulces.
Alternatives for Special Ingredients!
Cubanelle peppers (Capsicum Annuum) are known as Italian frying pepper and Cuban pepper. They are yellowish-green in color and turn to a bright red color when they become ripe. Compared to the sweet peppers (ajíes dulces), they are longer and sweeter. The Cubanelle peppers are mainly imported from the Dominican Republic. You can substitute sweet peppers (ajíes dulces) with cubanelle peppers.