Ají limo norteño
The variety of chili pepper called “limo norteno” is native to the Andes and jungle areas of Peru and Bolivia. This area was historically known as Upper Peru and it was the original geographic area of many of the species that make up the Capsicum genera which are now widespread in South America.
Archeological findings from the region of Lima exist belonging to the Caral civilzation (around 3000 B.C.) which demonstrate that the “limo norteno” variety was used in cooking. Currently, this chili pepper is found mainly in the Tumbes, Piura and Lambayeque departments where the best climate conditions for growing the plant are found: for example, temperatures between 18 and 28 degrees, a fairly high humidity rate and an altitude between sea level and 1500 meters.
The “limo norteno” chili pepper variety is sown at the beginning of summer while it is harvested when the fruit becomes yellow and red, after around three months. It has an elongated triangular shape and is medium sized; its color can be white or red. It is a very aromatic, spicy variety with a very fleshy texture.
It is mainly used fresh in cooking, but it can also be dried or preserved in oil and vinegar. It is used to flavor fish and meat dishes of the northern area culinary tradition, including cerviche or “tiradito” (a sliced raw fish dish).
This cultivar is currently grown in family vegetable gardens, along with other varieties that are found less and less frequently for sale.