Let's Talk about Food! What is a St. Augustine Datil Pepper?
History tells us that the Datil Pepper(Capsicum chinense Jacques)arrived at our shores in 1768, brought from Minorca by indentured servants on their way to Dr A. Turnbells' plantation in New Smyrna, FL. In 1777 the survivors migrated to St. Augustine and brought with them the seeds of this unique hot pepper. Rumor has it that this pepper only thrives in St. Augustine and close surrounding areas, though I have read differing opinions. The plant can grow as high as 4'or more and gives green fruit which eventually can turn a yellow orange color - they're even hotter at this stage! One of St. Augustine's' best restaurants, Collage, has been generous enough to share their wonderful recipe for a carrot, bacon and datil pepper soup. It has traveled with me to California, New York City and practically to Canada! Always a success, except for the faint of heart and palette - they can be so hot that one of the traditional uses, putting them in a jar with white vinegar and flavoring food such as cocktail sauce with a few drops, can be repeated with the same peppers once the vinegar is gone!!
Freeze them, dry them, make "dust", mustard, jellies, hot sauces such as the ubiquitous Dati'l Do- It or make your own version of bottled hell..whatever you do and wherever you take this unique pepper, people will never forget that taste! Most will thank you but others need to be forewarned!