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Ecuadorian Red Pepper For Hell: A Classic Rocoto

November 6, 2019

Welcome to 7 Pot Club. I’m Rob. 🎵 I grow hot peppers 🎵 The star of today’s episode is the Ecuadorian
Red Pepper For Hell. It’s a Rocoto, one of the oldest domesticated peppers in the
world. It’s late October here in Minneapolis. Jack Frost has hit hard, and there’s no
more pretending that we can extend the outdoor growing season. Snow is coming next week.
It’s time to put the garden to bed for a long winter’s nap, including these three
Rocoto plants, a Mini Rocoto Red and two Ecuadorian Red Pepper For Hell. This large one in the
ground is already a goner, and the potted plants are hanging on only because we’ve
been putting them on the back porch at night. I’m going to tell you a little about this
unique species of pepper, do a tasting, hang the large plant for ripening, and then prepare
the potted plants for overwintering. Let’s get started. The scientific name for Rocoto is Capsicum
pubescens. It’s native to Bolivia and Peru, and has been cultivated since ancient times.
In Bolivia, it’s known as Locoto instead of Rocoto. The Red Pepper For Hell hails from
Ecuador, right next door to Peru. I wonder if there are any rocotos for sale in this
Ecuadorian market. Pubescens means hairy, and if you look closely
at the stem of a Rocoto plant, you’ll see why. The flowers are usually purple bordered
in white. This footage was taken at the end of August, and the plant still had blooms
until early October. Let’s cut one open and take a look. The
pods have very thick walls. Also unique to this species are the dark brown to black seeds.
In a temperate climate, the plants can grow quite large and live for up to 15 years. But
since they can’t survive frost, they can’t be grown year round in most of the U.S. As
far as heat, most Rocotos fall between 30,000-50,000 Scoville units — roughly 10 times hotter
than a Jalapeño. The Ecuadorian Red Pepper For Hell is classic
Rocoto in every way — thick walled, black seeds, purple flowers. The pods on our plants
finally started ripening in early October. That’s when I first gave one a taste. It took until October 9 to be able to say
this, but I’m finally going to sample an Ecuadorian Pepper For Hell, this wonderfully
large and interesting looking Rocoto pepper from Ecuador. Here’s one of the plants, I’ve
got a much larger one in the ground. Here’s the potted version, and I’ve read that these
are extremely hot, but that can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. I’ve
grown Rocotos before, several different varieties, and I never found any of them spectacularly
hot, but perhaps this one is the exception. So let’s give it a try. [chewing] Mmm. It’s so sweet and juicy. There’s definite
heat there, but it’s not at all what I would call extremely hot. But, you know, that’s
not what’s really important in a lot of peppers. It’s that the taste is just excellent
here, and I love this. I love that I’m out on October 9 and it’s over 70º. Last week
we were outside and it was 80º and I said that’s probably the last 80º day. This
is probably the last 70º day, and I’m glad to be spending outdoors here, tasting this
delicious Rocoto pepper from Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Pepper For Hell. Yum. I don’t know if you can see this if
I hold it up to the camera. The distinctive black seeds of the Rocoto. I’m going to
save some of these, so I can plant this again next year. Mmm. So delicious. All good things must come to an end, so it’s
time to chop this frost-bitten plant. It still has unripened fruit, so I’ll hang it upside
down in the garage to encourage the pods to turn red. Last year I hung several large superhot
plants, but this year we did something different. Back before the first frost, we donated the
plants to our friends from Miss Jenny’s Hot Sauce, and they came out and dug them
out of the ground. Their grower is going to overwinter them to get a head start on next
year’s production. Now it’s time to prepare the two potted
Rocotos for overwintering. First, I’ll remove all the unripened fruit, and we’ll see if
we can get the pods to ripen indoors. Then we’ll trim them way back before repotting.
The Mini Rocoto Red plant is still looking pretty good, but the Red Pepper For Hell is
looking kinda bedraggled and I hope it survives the stress of pruning and repotting. Now it’s time to clean the roots prior to
repotting. The root system is quite dense and completely fills the pot, so we’ll use
a garden hose to wash off as much soil as possible, as well as any pests that might
be lurking in there. This can take quite a while, but be patient and get the roots as
clean as possible. I’m repotting in soil, but if I was going to switch these to hydroponic,
I’d have to bring them indoors and wash them in the sink with dish soap to remove
all traces of soil. I’ve washed and prepped two pots to serve
as the plants’ winter homes. To be extra careful, I sprayed the roots with neem oil
prior to repotting. Last year I had aphids on my overwintered plants, and I don’t want
to revisit that nightmare. I’m using the same ProMix Ultimate Organic Mix I used for
outdoor planting. On the other side of the driveway are stacks
and stacks of decommissioned pots. Next season, I’ll want to reuse a lot of the soil in
these pots, so I’ll need to make room in the garage. The fun part will be hauling them
all in there and stacking them up. The repotted Rocotos are now down in the basement,
under the Sansi grow light I reviewed several weeks back. Hoping to see some new growth
soon. Thankfully, we didn’t get any snow this
week after all. This gives us some more time for fall yard cleanup. All the pots have been
stored in the garage. Hopefully our overwintered plants will live to spend another summer outdoors.
I’m already planning for next year, and we’ve frozen, dried and smoked enough peppers
to get us through the long winter. And I’m not going into hibernation! They’ll be new
episodes all winter long. If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe
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We have merch — 7 Pot Club logo merch, and also classic, clever and quirky hot pepper
themed apparel, stickers, magnets, and buttons, available in lots of designs and colors. If
you’re interested, please head over to to learn more. And for even more 7 Pot Club,
follow our daily exploits on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For 7 Pot Club, I’m Rob.


  • Reply Wolfgang Muller November 3, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Very nice, i love rocotos, thanks for the video

  • Reply Isaac Cantu November 3, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    Neem oil is great! I can attest to this. Spider mites be gone!

  • Reply Pestis SechsEinsSechs November 3, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    Greate Video 🙂 was really excited to see the notification for a new 7 Pot Club Video.

  • Reply Robert Gibson Z November 3, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Yes…. in the local markets of the Andean region we can get rocoto peppers. There are several varieties with different sizes and forms. Colors are red and yellow.

  • Reply Irish Chippy November 3, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Nice looking pepper. Ciara thought it was a tomato. 😊 Those seeds are very unusual. Good luck with the overwintering

  • Reply Yaria Samavan Carlan November 3, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    That pepper looked so juicy!😍 I wanna grow some now ☺️

  • Reply Joe the Modifier November 3, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    Same method i use (and kang starr) for overwintering. Though i find it goes quicker and cleaner to put the root ball in a bucket of water and massage the dirt. Comes right off.

  • Reply Old Man Easy November 3, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    I'll be interested to watch your cooking exploits over the winter. Great video Rob!

  • Reply Paivi Project November 3, 2019 at 11:52 pm

    Well what a beautiful day for enjoying outdoors while tasting that beautiful pepper. Was that a view from your backyard ?. I am crazy all thick walled peppers !! They are so juicy & meaty yum yum. So cool for donating peppers plants for over wintering…let us know how they survive & maybe pictures too. I had one plant I wanted to try to save although I didn't care the peppers that much but the plant itself was just so pretty but I didn't get it done & now them all are dead. I'll be very curious to see how the plants you saved will do. Hopefully no bugs & whatnot's make it this time. Great video, much enjoyed. Thanks 👍

  • Reply Carlos Cardenas November 3, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    always enjoy watching your vids rob keep it up 🙂

  • Reply Mike Thompson November 4, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Daggonit Rob, now I have to order some of those. ❤️👍🌶🔥

  • Reply 426 SUPER BEE November 4, 2019 at 12:05 am

    i don't want that thing he heee your plants looks like mine FROST BIT next yr just going to grow Green Chili Peppers and Red Habanero Pepper get my fill of them I REALLY LOVE THE TASTE OF THE GREEN CHILI PEPPERS there better than BELL PEPPERS with a little more heat> i do love the Cayenne and Jalapenos as well> for every day eating YUM i do need like a Ghost or Habanero for HOT WINGS AND THINGS > bad thing about Ghost Peppers no favor! ALL HEAT!

  • Reply james wojciechowski November 4, 2019 at 12:06 am

    That is a great pepper Rob, I just love the song U made MY FAVORATE PEPPER, listen to it every time I watch Ur channel!! Say question for U, by freezing pepper seeds will it hurt the germination of the seed in a later use? Thanks

  • Reply Charlie Peppah November 4, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Nicely done! How are you liking your Sansi grow light?

  • Reply Johnathan F. November 4, 2019 at 12:29 am

    Do I see a new aerogarden video in the future? I really loved the last one with the wild peppers

  • Reply THE PROPHYT November 4, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Yeah I need that in my life. Looks like such an enjoyable pepper! Wow! Well done.

  • Reply DonnaZ November 4, 2019 at 1:11 am

    That sounds like a delishious pepper Rob! I'm gonna have to try and grow it now, Lol
    My peppers are doing just as good as yours. We had a few nights that went down in the upper 30's. I cut some branches that had a lot of unripened peppers on them and put them in a bucket of water in the house and they are ripening up very nicely for me!
    Have a great week!

  • Reply Togarashi 808 November 4, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Rocotos are one of my favorites! Nice 👍

  • Reply Effo Anderson November 4, 2019 at 4:47 am

    Mata frade seeds are ordered and being shipped my way, hopefully 6 months from now or so I can see what made #1 on the favorite red peppers!

  • Reply Donald Slayton November 4, 2019 at 5:10 am

    Thanks for the video, I was just wondering about these peppers

  • Reply Valamas November 4, 2019 at 6:16 am

    For you next grow (In Australia, we are growing now), perhaps consider a sandy mix to your soil as you often complain about water logged plants. Perhaps a side by side pot test?

  • Reply Frankie's Fire November 4, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Always a pleasure to watch. Hope the winter is kind to you! Can’t wait to be tasting in the next couple of months.

  • Reply Saul maldonado November 4, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Love the video keep them coming

  • Reply Nikola Nikolov November 4, 2019 at 7:23 am

    These look real cool. I would probably try to grow some next season 😉

  • Reply Ricky Marek November 4, 2019 at 7:35 am

    When you take 6 locotos, eveb from the same plant, one can be almost not hot, a second one can be a killer.. but the other three are perfect and delicious.

    Abother tip with locotos, if you cut in slices without touching the seeds, it is less hot than if you cut in rings.
    Another interesting specie is called 'Ululica', it is aeound 1/2cm to 1cm in diameter, also black seeds and very hot.
    Greetings from and old Bolivian dog that lives in the Galilee.

  • Reply Joe Pacholik November 4, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Does this variety have an floral taste? I love the thick walls.

  • Reply [email protected] November 4, 2019 at 8:24 am

    very timely as we are having frosts here in the UK and I am trying to keep a few of my potted plants over winter. I didn't know I had to wash the soil off the roots etc so I shall be doing that and re-potting over the next few days. I also have to figure a way of setting up the grow light I bought. The feature pepper in this video looks marvellous, big, fat glossy beautiful colour interesting seeds and juicy. Thank you.

  • Reply Ralphgtx280 November 4, 2019 at 9:06 am

    I know you arent a fan of saving your own seeds because of the potential for cross polination. A convenient or inconvenient ( depending on what you want to do) thing about pubesense is they do not produce fertile offspring when crossed with any of the domestic species. So seeds saved will either be true or wont sprout.

  • Reply Coen November 4, 2019 at 9:19 am

    I love your videos Rob and Cat. You have really inspired me to have a serious go at growing chillies this year. I have about half a dozen variates in the glass house now, just starting to plant them out this week. Most are blacks and purples but some habaneros to. Thats plenty hot enough for me 😀 Keep making these fantastic videos, that always brighten my day.

  • Reply Joe's Pepper House November 4, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Awesome video and hope they survive as well.. I received my shirt last week and will be wearing it in my next video. Thanks

  • Reply IamWeasel8 November 4, 2019 at 11:58 am

    I grew the Rocoto Manzano this year. The taste was amazing, but they had way to much heat for me. I couldn't even eat bread to stop the heat because my tongue hurt so bad. And it felt like the heat lastet forever. Altough, I'm growing them again next year

  • Reply Kort Kramer November 4, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Those look like fantastic peppers. So juicy and such thick walls. What kind of dish will you use them in? Thanks for sharing some of your winter preparations with us Rob.

  • Reply Brizals garden November 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Hey Rob. Great video

  • Reply Chris Chambers November 4, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Great video. You had a great season, As did I. Now I’m focusing on my overwinter projects and I’m already itching to start seeds for next year.

    Stay warm and safe this winter! I look forward to more videos. 🤙🏾🤙🏾

  • Reply sbfarmer 8 November 5, 2019 at 1:11 am

    I find it impossible for any black seed to germinate. including manzano, and rocoto's. im in zone 9 so cal. any idea, advice for success?

  • Reply Matt Garver November 5, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Nice update Rob, I personally enjoy the rocoto pepper varieties. Toss one pod into a small cup of whole fruit and lightly chop or blend to make a fresh fruit delight to put over biscuits.

  • Reply Tenacious Dan November 5, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    Hi rob. Do you sell peppers? And if so, do you have whole pods?. Everyone on msp craigslist is selling powder. There was one that was from Minneapolis selling whole chocolate habaneros. I wanted to ask him if it was you. Lol

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