Pepper connoisseurs or “chiliheads” can often travel far and wide to find the perfect hot pepper. With so many peppers to choose from, it’s difficult to pick one that beats all the rest. One pepper that might fly under the radar is the Fatalii pepper—it packs a punch and also provides a lot of flavor.
Fatalii peppers come from Africa and are about 3 inches (7.6 cms) long. Additionally, they are about ¾ inch to 1.5 inches (2 to 4 cms) wide and turn a vivid yellow once ripened. They are about 15 to 160 times hotter than a Jalapeño and have a fruity, citrus flavor.
In this article, we’ll discuss what Fatalii peppers are, where they come from, their characteristics, taste, and spiciness. We’ll also cover what they’re used for, how to grow them, and a few growing tips. Read on to learn more about these delicious hot peppers.
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What are Fatalii Peppers?
Fatalii peppers (also spelled Fatali) are part of the chili pepper family, Capsicum chinense. They’re among the spiciest peppers in the world. While not as strong as the aptly named Carolina Reaper, the Fatali nonetheless packs quite a punch. Its heat takes up to five minutes to dissipate.
Fatalii peppers were first cultivated in Central Africa. Using chili peppers introduced and traded from the Americas, Africans used selective breeding to create the Fatalii.
Fatalii peppers grow incredibly well in hot weather climates and are semi-drought resistant.
Fatalii peppers are vivid yellow in color and are of average size. They have tapered ends, thin walls, and few seeds. There are several different varieties, including white, red, and brown (which is the sweetest). However, the yellow version is the best known that most people associate with the Fatalii pepper.
On a Fatalii pepper plant, the pods start as a vibrant green. As the peppers begin to ripen, they transform into a vivid citrus yellow.
There are other varieties of Fatalii peppers, including red, white, and brown. Red Fataliis are a strain of the original and often carry a bit more heat. In this article, we will discuss the yellow Fatalii specifically.
The Fatali pepper plant grows to about 3 feet (91 cms) tall. The fruits themselves are bright yellow long pendant pods, approximately 3 inches (7.6 cms) long and about ¾ inches to 1.5 inches (2 to 4 cms) wide with a tapered end.
They have a very thin wall and do not produce many seeds. Compared to a thick, wide Habanero, Fatalii peppers are slimmer and more similar in shape to a Cayenne pepper.
The peppers can weigh between .30 and .40 ounces (8.5 to 11.3 g).
This unassuming yellow pod looks similar to a small sweet yellow pepper, but don’t be fooled! These spicy yellow peppers aren’t called Fatalii for nothing. While they aren’t fatal, you’re sure to experience quite a pungent spiciness after the first bite—one that will definitely make you sweat.
According to the Scoville Scale, these peppers come in at a whopping 125,000 to 400,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), with a median heat level of around 262,500 SHU! Compare that to a Jalapeño, which sits at 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, the Fatalii pepper is anywhere from 15 to 160 times hotter than it.
Hot chili aficionados claim that Fatalii peppers are deceptive. Eating a whole pepper raw is not recommended, especially if you’re a novice with peppers—you will feel the heat, and it will be aggressive. If you do decide to try the pepper raw, you should be prepared.
The heat doesn’t hit you right away. This is due to dihydrocapsaicin, a compound that allows for the slow release of spiciness. After the first bite, you might think that you’re in the clear, as you’ll likely taste a sweet, fruity flavor initially.
However, watch out for what comes next. After about 30 seconds, the searing sensation will begin, especially on the front and sides of your tongue.
Two to five minutes later, the heat will reach its peak. You may feel the heat in the throat, nose, and roof of the mouth. Sweating and tears are common side effects.
Upon the first bite, the Fatalii pepper has a sweet, fruity flavor. Once the sting begins, however, it’s hard to distinguish between the flavors, these peppers can be painfully hot!
Once the heat declines, the Fatalii has a unique flavor. It is very citrus-like, similar to a faint hint of lemon or lime. There’s also a light earthy pepper taste. Compared to other hot peppers, the flavor of this yellow pod is quite extraordinary.
Fatalii peppers are used in fruit salads, salsas, and fish, or other seafood dishes. They also pair well with grilled chicken, soups, curries and are perfect for making homemade hot sauces. The pods may be dried and used as a ground seasoning for chilis, chicken wings, or sprinkled over salads.
Because of their unique flavor and incredible spiciness, Fatalii peppers are excellent for use in fruit salads to offset the sweetness, especially with fruits that pair well with lemon. Consider chopping up some pineapple, mangoes, and oranges and combining them with half of a diced Fatalii pepper for a sweet and spicy fruit salad. Be careful to keep the ratio of the Fataliis lower than the other ingredients, or else you’ll end up sweating over your bowl of fruit.
If fruit salad isn’t your thing, Fatalii peppers pair well with recipes where lemon or lime is a critical component. Think grilled salmon, rice dishes, or even crab carbonara.
Salsa is another great way to use Fatalii peppers. Here’s a quick salsa recipe you can follow that incorporates Fatalii peppers:
- A couple of blood oranges
- A grapefruit
- Half of a small red onion
- Half of a diced Fatalii pepper
- ¼ cup (37.5 g) of fresh cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon (1.42 g) of salt
- Chop up your ingredients
- Mix it all together until well combined.
- Serve with tortilla chips, on fish, or as a salad.
- If it seems too wet, you can scoop out some of the liquid
The Fatalii pepper isn’t like a Bell pepper—it has a very thin wall. This makes drying Fatalii peppers super easy and quick. You can use dried Fatalii peppers in homemade chili powders or sprinkle it over a dish for an extra kick. You can even try your hand at creating your own Fatalii pepper hot sauce!
If you’re interested in trying a Fatalii hot pepper sauce, the Horseshoe Brand Mango Fatalii Hot Sauce is a good choice. It’s available on Amazon.com, comes in an 8-ounce (237 mL) bottle, and is made from all-natural ingredients. It’s sweet and spicy, making it ideal for chicken or seafood.
Alternatively, you could try the PepperRica Gourmet African Hot Sauce, also from Amazon.com. This option is made from Fatalii peppers sourced directly from Central Africa and also includes various other ingredients, like shrimp and spices, to create a unique flavor profile. It can be paired with a variety of cuisines, ranging from Asian to Caribbean.
To grow Fatalii peppers, plant seeds six to eight weeks before the last frost. After germination, put seedlings in a window or under a grow light for 12 hours a day. Then, transplant outside two weeks after the last frost. Water when the top two inches of soil are dry and harvest after 80 days.
When purchasing seeds for Fatalii peppers, ensure that you’re buying from a reputable supplier. Read reviews and look for true yellow Fatalii peppers. Each seed packet should contain ten or more seeds.
Fatalii peppers take around 80 to 100 days to harvest and sometimes more, depending on the environmental conditions. If you want to grow these spicy peppers from seed to harvest, there are a few basic requirements to keep them healthy and productive.
Before we jump into the detailed instructions, look at this chart for a general idea of the timeline for growing Fatalii peppers and what to expect.
|Time Frame||What to Do|
|6-8 weeks before the final frost in your area||Sow seeds indoors|
|One week before the final frost in your area||Place seedlings outdoors, giving them some time to harden off|
|One to two weeks after the final frost in your area||Transplant the pepper plants outdoors in a sunny location|
|Around 80 to 100 days (sometimes more) after transplant||Harvest the Fatalii peppers. They’re ready when they’re a vibrant citrus yellow.|
|One week before the final frost of the growing season||Bring your Fatalii pepper plants indoors if you plan on regrowing them in the spring.|
Now that you know the basic time frame for growing Fatalii peppers, let’s cover the steps in more detail. This step-by-step guide on how to grow Fatalii peppers will help you along the way.
Step-by-Step Guide for Growing Fatalii Peppers
Prepare a tray with starter soil and moisten the soil. Sow seeds about ½ inch (1.3 cms) deep. Then, moisten the soil once more.
Make sure to keep the tray warm (approximately 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, or 21-27 degrees Celsius) until the seeds begin to germinate.
This process usually takes around one to two weeks. If your seeds do not sprout, you may need to wait a little longer or purchase new seeds.
Once the seeds have sprouted, move them to an area that receives at least 12 hours of constant, strong sunlight. You can place them in a south-facing window, but a full-spectrum grow light is best.
I recommend the WAKYME 600W LED Grow Light, which is available on Amazon.com. It saves energy while providing plants with the light spectrum they need for optimal growth.
For the next four to six weeks, keep the soil moistened, but do not allow it to become waterlogged.
Approximately two weeks after the final threat of frost has passed, it’s time to transplant the peppers outdoors. Choose a location where the pepper plants will receive at least six hours of sunlight every day. When transplanting, dig a hole two times larger than the pot’s diameter and about as deep.
Place the Fatalii pepper plant into the hole. Avoid burying the stems. Instead, keep the base even with the top of the hole. Fill it with extra potting soil, packing it gently around the base of the plant.
Transplanted Fatalii peppers should be kept moist for a week after transplanting. Once the roots have established themselves, cut back on watering. Only water when the top one or two inches (2.5 or 5 cms) of soil have dried out. Otherwise, you risk waterlogging the plants, which can cause root rot.
Make it a point to go out and check on your Fatalii pepper plants daily. Check the moisture level and water as needed. Additionally, keep an eye out for any signs of damage from:
- Environmental conditions
It’s better to catch any problems early on so that you have the best chances of saving the plant.
Around 80 to 100 days after transplanting your pepper plants, you should see yellow pepper pods. Harvest the peppers by cutting them off with sharp, clean gardening shears. Try to get as close to the main stem as possible.
Do not pluck the peppers off, or else you risk damaging the plant. You may notice some green peppers on the plant as well which you should leave on the plant until they ripen.
Fatalii peppers prefer warm climates and moist soil. There are, however, other factors to consider to ensure that your Fatalii pepper plant reaches its maximum potential and produces a high yield. These tips will help you out.
- Provide Fatalii pepper plants with fertile soil. Although they’re not very particular about the medium they grow in, they still require nutrients for optimum growth. Test the soil using a test kit for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash. If needed, add compost, aged manure, or other organic matter to amend the soil and provide steady nutrients.
- Ensure that the plants do not experience frost. Fatalii pepper plants require a minimum of at least 120 days without frost. Pay attention to frost advisories or warnings in your area and bring your plant inside if the threat is imminent.
- Make it easy to bring Fatalii plants indoors. If you live in an area where the temperature fluctuates regularly, it might be best to plant Fatalii peppers in a large pot, which you can bring inside as needed. With three or more gallons of soil, these pepper plants can grow to be quite tall.
- Don’t panic if you forget to water them for a day or two. Fatalii pepper plants have some resistance to drought. While it’s recommended to water the plants whenever the top one or two inches of soil are dry, skipping a day or two shouldn’t cause any major problems. However, if it’s really hot (over 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius), you should provide water every other day.
Fatalii peppers are a unique, flavorsome African pepper that add a kick to dishes of all kinds, from fruit to seafood. Small and unassuming, these thin-walled yellow peppers are fiery hot with a searing mouth feel. Despite their incredible heat, Fatalii peppers have a distinctive flavor that is sweet, fruity, and citrus-like, with a hint of earthy pepper taste.
If you’re looking for a unique pepper for use in recipes, the Fatalii pepper is a great choice, but just be mindful of the heat!