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Peppadew Peppers

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2010

I’ve seen small pickled red peppers in the grocery store called Peppadews. Can you tell me about them?

Peppadew is the brand name for the pickled grape-size red pepper known as Juanita. The Juanita plant was reportedly discovered in 1993 by Johannes Steenkamp, who found it growing in the garden of his vacation home in South Africa. His first bite of the pepper delivered a significant shot of heat. To capitalize on their spicy flavor profile, he pickled the peppers in a simple sugar and vinegar mixture.

Today, Peppadews are available in mild and hot varieties (the heat is adjusted by adding more or fewer dried, ground seeds to the pickling liquid), as well as in a new yellow Goldew variety, which has less heat.

While a comparison to these unusual peppers is hard to make, their closest competitor might be the pickled cherry pepper. When we compared hot Peppadews with hot cherry peppers, the biggest difference was the pronounced sweetness of the Peppadews, which made them the favorite of our testers. But in a cooked dish such as chicken Scarpariello—a spicy Italian recipe made with sausage, peppers, and onions—the subtleties of the Peppadews got lost. Our recommendation: Enjoy Peppadews ($4.99 for a 14-ounce jar) raw on antipasto platters and in salads, as well as in cooked dishes where they can maintain their identity, such as pizza.

NEW PEPPER TO PICKBrine-packed peppadew peppers are similar to hot cherry peppers, but sweeter.