A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing
Biquinho Pepper with Apple Jam
The bright coral color and the amount of pepper seeds may suggest, at first glance, you are holding a spicy jam. But nothing could be further from the truth! Biquinho pepper is in fact one of the our sweetest and most aromatic flavors. It complements white cheese, and it makes a wonderfully delicate dressing for breaded fish and breaded chicken.
Apple, sugar, Biquinho pepper, lemon juice
Breaded fish, breaded chicken, white cheese
When I started developing jams I was not a pepper lover and I was afraid of tasting something I could not stand. Even though I knew, as a scientist, peppers vary in terms of concentration of the Capsaicin and other substances that impart spiciness, I was too cautious to risk it. But I had to, even if only because I live in the state of Minas Gerais, in the Southeast Region of Brazil, where Biquinho pepper has such a strong presence in the local cuisine. The first time I tried it as a jam ingredient, it was just the pepper and sugar, with no base fruit. The result was unsatisfactory. But stubborn as I am, I started thinking about which fruit I could use as base while not masking the flavor of this mild, aromatic pepper. I decided on apples. After several trials adjusting the amount of sugar, apple and pepper proportions, we hit the right combination. It is now one of our most popular jams.
This is a pepper that doesn’t burn at all, despite its red color and pointed shape suggesting spiciness. This is Pimenta Biquinho (Small Beak Pepper, free translation), a variety native to Brazil that has no Capsaicin at all. It is especially appreciated for its aroma. It is often consumed preserved in vinegar, and is used to decorate salads and meat dishes because of its bright red, orange and yellow colors.
Apples are native to the Old World but, but they have found an excellent habitat in the South Region of Brazil. In fact, Brazil is one of the major apple growers and exporters in the world, with outstanding cultivars such as Gala, Fuji and their varieties. Rich in pectin and natural sugars, apples are a very useful ingredient for making the base for jams.