Sunday, October 07, 2007

How To Make Minorcan Datil Pepper Relish

Let's make datil pepper relish.
Just follow the recipe above and I'll guide you through it with some pics and commentary.

VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: The recipe is for a single batch, the pictures are of a triple batch.

I didn't photograph the jar and utensil sterilization steps, but you boil everything ... jars, tongs, funnel, lids, caps ... ad infinitum. If that information is new to you, go read a canning book before you attempt any of this. Botulism's a bummer.

The recipe card above is the recipe my Mom uses and I believe it came to her from my late Aunt Florence.

You will need to seed the peppers unless you have a death wish, so prepare accordingly. My Dad loves to tell the tale of how he volunteered to seed the peppers for Mom once without gloves. I won't tell it here as it involves the bathroom. Just wear your gloves okay?

Datil peppers are small and seeding them involves destemming, cutting the pepper in half, and scooping out the seeds.
Seeding them was my job as Mrs. FC did everything else.

After the peppers are seeded, chop them fine. I did this job too as I still had my gloves on. Keep the gloves on until all peppery utensils have been rinsed and the peppery countertop is cleaned. We used our little Black and Decker minichopper thingie for the fine chopping of the peppers.

Cook the mixture on a very low heat to reduce the liquid and make it more relishy. We call this relish, but it's more of a wet relish when done ... somewhere between true sauce and true relish in my opinion.

Mrs. FC told Junior and I to give the pot a stir any time we walked into the kitchen and that is what we did. We actually let it cook for about 2 1/2 hours on extremely low heat.

The vinegary peppery vapors rising from the pot are hard to describe. The entire house smells wonderful, and if you lean over the pot and inhale, your sinuses clear instantly and you gain a few extra IQ points.
I'm not kidding.

The finished product.
Pass the fried shrimp and whiting please.


roger said...

this is SO right on time! winter has begun here and today is datil harvest day. while i love the hot oil i made by putting chopped, seeded datils in olive oil, i was wondering what else i could do with them. gloves. yes!! i did seed and chop 2 peppers barehanded. i could smell datil on my hands even after washing 3 times. my peppers are much smaller. still way hot tho. we are drying a few golden yellow peppers.

thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

How hot are these in comparison to habanero peppers? I had some habanero salsa once and it caused some extremely volatile vapors to come out my nose. In fact it may have burned all the hairs out of it. I have a feeling these are warmer that habaneros.

roger said...

google "scoville heat units" for a comparison of habeneros and datils. i found a reference somewhere that put them in the same range. not all charts show datils.

R.Powers said...

serendipity baby!

RCW and roger,
My book, "The Pepper Garden" by Dave Dewitt and Paul Bosland shows the datil as variety of Habenero. Apparently, the Habenero (Capsicum chinense) has hundreds of pod types.
This explains a lot about the power of the datil.

threecollie said...

Ha! Looks good.
Sounds good.
Can't eat it. Can't eat peppers...even mild ones. However, I will point Liz at your recipe and maybe she will do something about all those peppers out on the clothes line.

Anonymous said...

Kmoo once thought gloves were for sissies. Mrs. Kmoo laughed and laughed at his misfortune.

MinorcanMeteorolgist said...

If I were to share our Datil pepper sauce recipe, my grandma would disown me 8-0
Ours is very similar, though.
We don't seed the peppers, though, and we don't use gloves...We just have to remember not to touch our faces for a couple days afterward. And our recipe calls for CONSTANT stirring...tedium. Ahh you're making me hungry :-D

R.Powers said...

Can't eat peppers? Oh poor thing.
I would miss them terribly.

Sometimes we need to learn by doing. Especially when we are male.

I have never believed in hoarding good recipes. I suppose if I were selling it, that would be different, but even the Columbia Restaurant gives away their recipes and they seem to stay in business.
If you don't use gloves, I can safely assume you do not wear contact lenses.

Deb said...

I can just imagine that aroma in the house. Wonderful! I'm cooking up the last of tomatoes today, wondering if I should just do juice or cook it down into sauce. or ketchup...mmm...

Anonymous said...

If you don't wear gloves, I can safely assume you don't wash your face.:)

LauraHinNJ said...

So we can substitute habaneros then?

Florida Native Musings said...

You have done it again. Seeing those Ball Mason Jars reminds me of My Grandmother...although she didnt do Peppers, she did some great South Ga Peaches and Okra?

Where can Mrs. Native Fla pick up some peppers?

Yours in the Bond.

Sharon said...

Looks good! Call me if you do another sinuses are in a sad, sorry state at the moment and I would drive 400 miles to clear them! ;)

Paintsmh said...

Is it safe to substitute what we have for peppers? Even though we have not a clue what they are? Though I can say the ones taste more sweet bell peppery to me.

R.Powers said...

I would be torn between homemade ketchup and spag. sc.

I think I would be fingerprintless by now if I did not wear gloves.

Why not? I think it would make a grand sauce with any favorite, flavorful pepper.

The peppers are hard to find. I will send seeds to anyone if you email me a snail mail address.

Sorry you're miserable!

I think you could sub any pepper and get a decent relish. It would be different from datil, but still good.

Anonymous said...

Recipe calls for a pint of ketchup, yet has 48 oz. in parenthesis. Is it a pint or 48 oz.?

Anonymous said...

Made this delicious recipe and shared with family and friends. Only one problem...I didn't make enough!

One cousin dosed everything on his plate with the relish! I was afraid he was going to spread some on his peach cobbler too.

Thanks so much for sharing! I need to plant a few more pepper bushes.

Dave C.

Jim said...

Can't wait to get back home to Gainesville to check on my datyl bushes! Cheers, Jimmy (

Mama Sue said...

I'm cooling up this recipe as I type. Unfortunately, I think I may have to call mine, Datil Pepper "SAUCE", instead of "Relish". I got kind of carried away with the food processor and was pretty much pureed. Still smells WONDERFUL though! I have 2 large plants in my yard , so I'll just keep practicing! Thanks for this blog. I LOVE IT!!

Glo said...

I just received a baggie of datil peppers, I've never eaten or used them before but am told they make a good hot pepper sauce (just pour over hot vinegar is my guess) but I found this - printed the graphic, found the gloves and headed to the kitchen, it's simmering away and I can't wait to try it. I just tossed the seeded peppers (probably about 12-15 of them) in the food processor with the onion and bell and let her rip. I'll let you know how it turns out. Also I intend to just put in the frig and skip the water bath until I know whether or not I did a good job! thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just got to thank you for this recipe. Started my chili hobby this year and my Datil prodused so much pepper I didnt know what to do with it. Looked this up on google and thought I try it. It's delicious! By the way chili peppers a big here in Finland (dont believe? check out even though we dont get as much sun as you guys.

Anonymous said...

I've saved this site in order to be able to order seeds in the future. I just moved from Jacksonville to Knoxvile, and I brought myone and only plant with me. I've finally stashed away enough peppers to make this delicious sounding relish! I hope my plant makes it through this winter up here! If not, I may be ordering seeds sooner than expected..thanks for a great site!

Anonymous said...

datil peppers have a very distinct flavor and either you love them or hate them, in st augustine fl we love them! i dont know anyone who doesnt grow them and use them in everything. datil pepper corn bread, datil peppers in your pilau, datil pepper mustard, datil pepper everything! one of my close friends even put datil peppers in vodka and let it flavor the vodka, yummy! i love it straight up but it would be fabulous in for a spicy bloody mary. i dont seed mine, we like it hot but do do do wear gloves. in response to all who asked if they could substitute peppers, that should be no problem but your not going to get the same flavor and datil peppers are just so good! try them in anything you want an extra kick to but experiment with the amount you use. thank you to the minorcans for bringing them here and all their wonderful recipes!

Unknown said...

Great recipe, glad I stumbled upon it. I am planning on using a Datil puree as my secret weapon in a chili cook off coming up.

Unca Stash said...

Thanks for the recipe. I've loved this since we discovered it at Osteens in St Augustine, but didn't know what it was till last year. I was told that it is only possible to grow datils between Jax and Orlando, but we bought plants on a May trip to SA and brought them back to NC and did them in containers. I now have 4 plants about 3ft high and we are growing peppers like mad. Probably 70 with new ones forming every day and 2.5 months left in our growing season. Pollination seemed to be a big issue, but I got that one solved. The only question that remains is whether the seeds from these will be viable next year.

Mary Ford said...

I grow them in NC, too. We have a nursery that has plants every spring, so no problem starting new plants. I just 'harvested' some off my deck plant--which has plenty more. I've been introducing my friends to datils--some like them, some don't.

Unca Stash said...

Okay, so this is my first attempt this year and I totally nailed it with much thanks to you and this recipe.

I modified it a bit to get to what I was looking for. And the next batch is going to be just a bit cooler. I like what I did but it's a bit too strong for the women in the family, so I will fix them up with a lighter batch. I'll get probably 3 quadruple batches this year.

Modifications to the recipe include at the 4x batch level, 1/3 cup blackstrap, 1/3 cup brown sugar, a few tablespoons of onion powder, tsp garlic powder, just a touch of chipotle powder.

At the end, I had reduced it down by a 1/3 and then added 1 tsp xantham gum so that it got a bit thicker without becoming more concentrated, and to help keep everything in suspension. 1 tsp of xanthum gum though is a lot and only because I had a 4x batch. Better to add it 1/8 tsp if you have never done that.

Headed down to St Augustine next week and hope to pick up some extra datils at the farmers market. Fingers crossed.

Brittiney said...

My aunt bevs datil pepper sauce is the best thing ive ever tasted but that darn lady wont share her recipe with anyone! She will hand out jars like candy but no recipe. Im trying to make some of my own hoping it will taste the same. She accidently told me she sticks tomatoes and the peppers into a blender.. Does anyone have a recipe that uses tomatoes instead of ketchup? Or maybe tomatoes and ketchup? Hellllp. I cant drive another 6 hrs to snag another jar but my family is begging!

Mr Jay said...

Just a suggestion, but I wait to harvest until the datils are a deep yellow-gold color. They have a deeper flavor

Mike Male said...

Recipe calls for a pint of ketchup, yet has 48 oz. in parenthesis. Is it a pint or 48 oz.?

Hischild71 said...

Mary, I know this is five years later, but where at in N.C do you find datils? I'm in north GA. at the Tenn. line.
Thanks, Mike

Hischild71 said...

Mary, I know this is five years later, but where at in N.C do you find datils? I'm in north GA. at the Tenn. line.
Thanks, Mike

Unca Stash said...

I don't know if Marry will answer, but I grow them in my own backyard in Charlotte NC. I have about 7-8 large plants and produce about 50 lbs per year I'd say. Been growing them now for about 10 years from some starter plants that I picked up in St Augustine at a nursery. Every couple of years I get down there in Feb or March and pick up another 1-2 under the theory that I keep the genetic diversity a bit more in the resulting seeds. I wish I could keep them all winter as my understanding is that they winter quite well and produce a crop in subsequent years, but much earlier. As it is, I don't start harvesting till late June or early July.

Unca Stash said...

As a follow up, I thought I'd also post that I've been making a datil-mint jelly that is out of this world. Your favorite jelly recipe but get fresh mint and dice it up along with datils to your hearts content. Incredible on an English muffin with just a little butter on it first.

Glo said...

Unca Stash, I grown mine in a large pot and (I'm in North Central FL near Gainesville). On the few nights it freezes here I just bring the pot onto the covered back porch and throw a sheet over it. My plant is probably 6 or 7 years old.

Unca Stash said...

Glo, I sure wish I could do that, but we have too much freeze time here. Does your plant continue to produce fruit the whole year then or do you still have to wait for the season for it to bloom and set fruit? I have to set seeds about Christmas time because the germination time is so long. It takes at least 3 months before I have a starter that is suitable for planting. All grown in 20 gallon pots.

Glo said...

Unca, no it stops producing when the weather starts to get cool. I just keep it alive LOL
I have a few Datil recipes on my blog if you are interested.

Stay well!

Unknown said...

I am from Jacksonville but recently relocated to South florida and so far this year have been unsuccessful in growing datils. Very frustrating and the Temps seen in South florida seem to be the issue. Also more of a problem with powdery mildew than North florida