The Fatalii Pepper is as notorious as it is hot. But it won’t actually kill you, despite what the name suggests. Instead, it has many culinary applications and health benefits, and if you enjoy having spice available at all times, it’s not exceptionally difficult to grow.
You don’t have to be a pepper pro to enjoy these spicy fruits. Read on to find out more about this multi-colored pepper.
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What is a Fatalii Pepper?
The Fatalii Pepper is an African heirloom variety of pepper. It is classified as Capsicum chinense and is part of the Solanaceae or nightshade family. There are a few varieties, including white, red, and chocolate, but the most common is the yellow/orange variety.
Originally adapted from American seeds, this pepper originates in Central and Southern Africa. It was developed in the 15th or 16th century and is closely related to the Habanero. The two are often compared since they have a similar heat level, shape, and aroma.
What does it look like?
The Fatalii plant can grow up to 30 inches tall and has egg-shaped leaves. The fruits have an easily recognizable tapered shape. They can be curved or straight, but all of them are deeply creased and wrinkled with waxy skin.
They can grow about three inches long and one inch in diameter. All color varieties start a bright green and change as they ripen.
What does a Fatalii taste like?
This pepper’s distinct citrus flavor sets it apart. Unlike its sneaky cousin, the Habanero, it has a burn that hits hard and fast. The red variety is sweeter, while the chocolate is slightly more acidic.
How hot is it?
The Fatalii Pepper is classed as ‘extra-hot’ on the Scoville scale. Depending on the variety, it can rank between 125 000 and 400 000 SHU.
That’s up to 160 times hotter than a jalapeno.
There are differing reports on where the burn starts and travels, but one thing is for sure, this pepper is not for the faint of heart, as it can take up to five minutes for the heat to subside!
How is it used?
Due to its intense heat, the Fatalii Pepper is usually processed into sauces and chutneys or cooked into various warm dishes. But if you can handle the heat, it can be added raw to complement cold dishes like salads and salsas.
It pairs particularly well with papaya, pineapple, mango, tomato, and citrus fruits like lemon and lime. If you’re looking for ways to use this pepper, try this salsa recipe that includes some fruit or this Pineapple Mango Hot Sauce that caters specifically to Fatalii Peppers.
It also freezes well and is easy to dry and grind into a powder to be added to dishes later or sprinkled over fresh fruit.
Whichever way you use it, wear gloves to protect yourself from chili burn and even goggles if you have sensitive eyes.
Health Benefits of Fatalii Peppers
Fatalii peppers are high in two things; vitamin C and capsaicin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts your immune system. And capsaicin, the compound that gives them, and all other peppers, their burn, has applications in many areas.
Surprisingly, they help with inflammation when applied topically, although you’d have to soldier through the mild burning on the skin. In addition, they can help treat muscle and joint complaints like arthritis.
They also have anti-bacterial properties, evidenced by their use in Mayan herbal remedies. And chili peppers, in general, are even used for appetite management.
Where to buy Fatalii Peppers
This specific pepper isn’t common outside of farmer’s markets and specialty stores. The products, however, are easy to find online. And if you fancy trying to grow them, pick up the seeds from an heirloom seed store like Etsy
Learn to Grow
Like many peppers, Fataliis can be tricky to germinate. But once they have popped up and are in a sunny place, they grow exceptionally well.
Starting the Seeds
Starting these seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost is best. The soil must be moist and warm (between 70 and 80°F). Plant the seeds ¼ inch deep into regular potting soil. They will take seven to fourteen days to germinate.
As soon as the seeds sprout, move them to a bright place where they can receive 12 – 14 hours of full sun daily. Keep them there for about a month. Water them regularly but don’t let the soil get water-logged.
The best time to transplant the seedlings is once the weather is warm, about two weeks after the last frost. Plant them 12 to 24 inches apart in full sun. Ensure the soil is level with the base of the plant to avoid rot.
For the next week, water the plants well to keep them moist. Once they are established, let the top 2 inches of soil dry between waterings.
The peppers will be ready for harvesting six weeks to three months after transplanting. Cut them off as close to the main stem as possible, and remember to wear gloves!
If you want to get the most out of your Fataliis, there are a couple of things you can do:
- Apply about 2 inches of organic mulch to the bed, or use plastic mulch to help keep the soil warm in colder climates.
- Give the plant a boost by applying a good amount of fertilizer after the fruits start to form.
- The clip, rather than pull, the fruits from the main stem to avoid damaging it.
- Harvest frequently to promote the growth of new fruits.
A Unique Pepper
As you can see, The Fatalii Pepper is a fun and exciting fruit. So whether you’re a gardener, a seasoned pepper taster, or want a kick in the kitchen, this pepper is definitely one to try! To learn more about peppers, visit our page, where you’ll find helpful guides and blog posts.