Biquinho Peppers: A Marvel for Your Garden

Biquinho peppers, also known as Sweety Drop Peppers, are a delightful addition to any garden. These thumbnail-sized sweet peppers possess a unique blend of sweetness and a touch of heat. In this article, we will explore how to grow and care for these beautiful plants, adding a touch of spice to your culinary endeavors.

A close-up of biquinho peppers ripening on the plant.
Image: The yellow variety of Biquinho Peppers.

Unveiling the Mystique of Biquinho Peppers

Imagine encountering these vibrant peppers in a salad bar, their lightly pickled crunchiness adding a burst of flavor to your green salad. It piques your curiosity, but their identity remains elusive. Little did you know that these small chile peppers, with their glossy green leaves resembling a well-lit Christmas tree when fruited, are called Biquinho peppers.

These Brazilian cultivars, also known as Sweety Drop peppers or Chupetinho, are a feast for the eyes and the taste buds. The journey of discovering these peppers led me to a local farmer’s market, where their secrets were finally revealed. Intrigued, I ordered the seeds and eagerly awaited the chance to grow them in my own garden.

A handful of red and yellow biquinho peppers
Image: Red and yellow varieties of Biquinho peppers.

What Makes Biquinho Peppers So Unique?

Biquinho peppers, scientifically known as Capsicum chinense, are renowned for their distinctive tear-drop shape, with a tapered point protruding from the rounded end. These decorative plants are slow to flourish, but once they do, they bring forth a bountiful harvest. Growing up to three feet tall, they display an attractive foliage of dark, glossy leaves, creating a visually striking plant.

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The ripening process of the peppers adds to their allure. Starting as pale green pods, they gradually transform into vibrant yellow or red fruits that are both visually appealing and deliciously flavorful. Despite their classification as “hot peppers,” biquinho peppers possess a subtle heat that pales in comparison to jalapeños, making them an excellent choice for those seeking a milder pepper experience.

Overhead view of the leaves of a biquinho plant.
Image: Overhead view of a biquinho pepper plant.

A Gastronomic Adventure with Biquinho Peppers

Biquinho peppers offer a delightful taste experience. When consumed whole, including the seeds, these Little Beak peppers provide a fruity flavor with a hint of smokiness, reminiscent of habaneros without the intense heat. Their versatility shines when pickled in a sweet and vinegary brine. These tangy delights are excellent additions to cheese and charcuterie boards, hors d’oeuvres, and even green salads.

A scattering of freshly picked biquinhos on a wooden table.

Where these peppers truly excel is when pan-fried with cherry tomatoes, olives, capers, and green onions, creating a Mediterranean-inspired meal. The abundance of the harvest allows for pickling these peppers, ensuring a winter filled with the taste of summer.

Cultivating Biquinho Peppers: A Gardener’s Delight

While Biquinho pepper plants may not be widely available in U.S. garden centers, dedicated nurseries may offer pre-established plants for shipping. Alternatively, starting these peppers from seeds is a rewarding experience. Their slow growth rate allows for a flexible planting schedule.

Sowing biquinho pepper seeds in fiber pots.
Image: Starting seeds for the yellow and red varieties.

To start the seeds, create a suitable environment for germination. A pot filled with dampened starter mix serves as an ideal habitat for the seeds. Plant them about a quarter-inch deep in the center of the soil, ensuring they are well-watered. Placing the pots inside a domed container on a heat mat creates a moist environment necessary for germination.

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Once the seeds sprout, transfer them under grow lights, gradually exposing them to direct sunlight during the hardening-off process. When the seedlings are sturdy and around 4 inches tall, they are ready to be transplanted. Choose a sunny spot in the garden, ensuring sufficient space to accommodate their growth.

Nurturing Biquinho Peppers: A Labor of Love

Caring for Biquinho peppers is relatively straightforward. These low-maintenance plants thrive when watered regularly, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged. Pot-grown plants require extra attention as they tend to dry out faster.

Fertilize the plants every two to three weeks with a regular commercial fertilizer or fish emulsion. If the leaves display signs of yellowing, a tablespoon of Epsom salts sprinkled around the base of the plant, followed by thorough watering, can provide a magnesium boost.

With proper care, Biquinho peppers will reward you with a plentiful harvest. As the months pass, their vibrant colors and flavors will grace your culinary creations, making them a favorite amongst pepper lovers.

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To further explore the world of Biquinho peppers, consider visiting the Ames Farm Center. They offer a wide range of gardening products and resources to help you on your journey towards cultivating these marvelous peppers.