This large, succulent, delicious sweet pepper is one of the agricultural and food treasures of Nicaragua. Unlike their Mexican neighbors to the north, Nicaraguans prefer sweet peppers, and they have developed a number of world-class varieties. One of the very best is the gigantic Chiltoma Grande de Ometepe pepper.
The island of Ometepe is the largest island in Lake Nicaragua, which is an enormous lake in the southwestern corner of the country. Ometepe means “two mountains” in the local Nahuatl language, and the island is comprised of two volcanoes joined by an isthmus. The rich volcanic soil, abundance of water and tropical climate combine to favor farming. Here, for thousands of years, the native people have practiced a high degree of agriculture.
“Chiltoma”is a combination of two Nahuatl words: chil, meaning a pepper, and tomatl, meaning a tomatillo. “Grande” means large, of course, and so this pepper is very aptly named: A large pepper that is sweet like a tomatillo. Chiltoma Grande de Ometepe yields massive, bullet-shaped fruits that are crisp, juicy and so flavorful.
Nicaraguans make a sweet-and-sour salsa with these marvelous peppers. The simple recipe combines thinly sliced onions, chiltomas, tomatoes, salt, sugar and a splash of vinegar. This salsa, called salsa criolla campesina, served with shredded cabbage, makes a splendid accompaniment to deep-fried fish or veggies! Or use Chiltoma as a stuffing pepper, either in the green or the fully ripe red state. Either way, now is the perfect time to start seeds indoors for setting out into the garden after frost has passed.
You can review and order this treasure
Grown for us by Hebron and Dorothy Smith in Tennessee.