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Pickled Sweety Drops

These unusual, thumbnail-sized Peruvian Biquinho sweet peppers are absolutely delightful when pickled. Perfect in salads, on sub sandwiches, on pizzas or charcuterie boards, Pickled Sweety Drop Peppers are easy-to-make refrigerator pickles that will last all winter long.

Three jars of pickled sweety drops, photographed from above

First off, special PSA: people of Cincinnati, if it’s still September ’19 when you’re reading this, set aside some time on a Saturday morning so that you can pop out to the Anderson Farmers’ Market to pick up these completely unique peppers. Look for Cassandra Farms, and tell him the blonde, Biquinho (bee-keen-yo) pepper lady sent you. 😉

You might even run into me there, because I have to stock up this weekend. (Don’t worry, I won’t take them all!)

A scattering of red and yellow Biquinho peppers (Peruvian Sweety Drops) on a wooden plate.

What are Sweety Drops?

These unique specimens are tear-drop-shaped peppers with a pointy end, and taste like extra flavorful sweet bell peppers. A native Peruvian cultivar, they’re also known as Biquinho peppers, Inca Reds, and chupetinho (literally, “little beak”). You eat the whole pepper, seeds and all.

I first learned about these Sweety Drop Peppers at an olive bar in a local (but sadly now defunct) grocery store. They were unnamed in the display, and I spent almost two years being completely obsessed with finding them, trying to figure out the right thing to search for on Google, with no success. (Who knew there were so many small peppers in the world!)

Finally, the food gods showed mercy on me, and I stumbled on a jar at Whole Foods one day. At last — I had a name! Except for Cassandra Farms, I’ve been unsuccessful at finding a retail source for the fresh peppers, but you can buy a jar of them already lightly pickled from Amazon.

Seasoning options for Pickled Sweety Drops

And now I grow these delightful peppers every year — I bought the seeds for both the red and yellow varieties from Johnny’s seeds.

Learn how to grow biquinho peppers on my gardening blog, SproutedGarden.com

Pickled Sweet Drops, jarred and ready to store in the fridge

If you love pickled things, I dare say you’ll thoroughly enjoy these little nuggets. They’re crunchy, sweet, with just the tiniest bit of heat, and small enough to toss in your mouth like popcorn. Sometimes, I just eat them straight out of the jar, lol.

And like most refrigerator pickles, there’s no rigamorale of water-bath canning. Heat the brine and pour them over the seasonings and peppers. Seal, cool, refrigerate. Done.

Quick preservation tip: Even though this recipe is for refrigeration, the heat from the brine will likely cause canning jars to self-seal. That doesn’t mean they’re shelf-stable, but, it should lengthen its lifespan in the fridge, unopened.

I use 1-cup Ball jars (which hold quite a bit, as you can see from the photos), which leaves more peppers sealed in other 1-cup jars, and hopefully lasting longer, instead of storing a whole batch in a quart jar, which gets opened immediately and exposed to environmental contaminants.

What do the plants look like? For the curious, as I hinted above when I wrote this post in ’19, I grew lots of Biquinho peppers plants during the 2020 growing season. They have beautiful foliage, and the colorful peppers make them look like they’re decorated with lights:

Biquinho Pepper Plant - Yellow variety

This is the yellow variety, but I also grew the red. They’re prolific producers, and the peppers are highly enjoyable to crunch on while working in the garden.

Toss them into salads, top a pizza, add them to sub sandwiches. And definitely don’t forget those holiday cheese boards! Anywhere a cucumber pickle works, these pickled Sweety Drop Peppers will, too.

Karen xo

Two jars of pickled sweety drops
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Pickled Sweety Drops

These tasty sweet peppers marinate in a lovely brine for a delicious pickled treat. This recipe is highly flexible and will accommodate more or fewer peppers, or different sized jars - just make sure you have enough brine to cover the peppers in the jars.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: biquinho pepper recipe, biquinho peppers, sweety drops
Servings: 12
Calories: 15kcal
Author: Karen Gibson

Ingredients

For the brine:

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling salt

For the seasoning:

  • 6 green peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon pickling or kosher salt (coarse, in both cases)
  • 6 green cilantro seeds (optional - you'd likely have to grown them)
  • 2 cups Biquinho peppers , stems removed, well-cleaned*

Instructions

  • Even though this is a recipe for refrigerated pickled peppers (not shelf-stable), you can increase the peppers' longevity by sterilizing the jars in which they'll be stored. Boil the jars, lids and rings prior to use.
  • In a small pot, bring the brine ingredients to a boil and stir until the sugar and salt have fully dissolved.
  • Divide the seasonings evenly between the jars, and spoon in the cleaned peppers. You can fill the jars as loosely or tightly as you want, since you're not producing a shelf-stable product.
  • Carefully pour the brine over the peppers, to cover. Wipe the rims and seal the jars to fingertip tightness. Check the lids again in 5 minutes -- they may need additional tightening.
  • Let the jars cool on the counter. If the jars were filled to the top, they'll likely self-seal. This is a good thing, but note that they're still not shelf-stable.
  • Place the cooled jars in the fridge for at least 10 days before serving, although you'll get a nice hint of the good things to come by day 5.

Notes

* For extra safety and longevity, briefly blanch the peppers in boiling water (just 5 seconds or so), drain, and transfer them to the jar(s) after adding the seasonings. A spider strainer comes in very handy for this.

Nutrition

Calories: 15kcal
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.

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Recipe Rating




Mark

Saturday 13th of November 2021

References to Inca Red or Inca Red Drops being the same as Biquinho or Sweety Drops is incorrect. Those peppers are similar in size but distinct difference in shape. The major difference is the Scoville Heat Unit. Biquinho peppers are the peppers used for Sweety Drop peppers and are around 1000 SHU while Inca Red are 10,000-30,000 SHU. For reference Jalapeños are 5000-8000 SHU. I learned this the hard way when I grew the IRD and ate one without testing it 1st and got “lit up”.

Lesley Salamone

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

Making these tonight. Could they be water bathed to make them shelf stable? I dont have a lot of fridge room to store them.

SoupAddict

Wednesday 6th of October 2021

Honestly, I've never tried it. I'm not a canning expert, so I'm not able to advise how to achieve the correct ph balance for safe water bath canning.

mIKES

Sunday 12th of September 2021

Hi Karen. We are on the verge of harvesting our first growing of the yellows. And to read your experiences and generous recipe will make them even more enjoyable.

regards =m

Hannah

Monday 2nd of August 2021

Could these peppers last not in the refrigerator? Thinking of bringing a small jar backpacking to add some flavor!

SoupAddict

Monday 2nd of August 2021

I’m not a food safety expert, but I think that, like pickles, they would be okay for a few hours unrefrigerated. But for storage purposes, they definitely need to be kept in the fridge.

Amanda

Saturday 31st of July 2021

Once these have reached ten day marination, how long do they usually keep for in the fridge? Super excited to make these today. I've enjoyed them on charcuterie boards so many times and grew several biquenho plants this year and didn't realize at first that they are the same thing. Spent the evening and late into the night last night doing pepper jellies with cherry bombs and serranos, and some spicy pickles. Today I'll be doing your sweety drops and maybe some sweet heat beets if I'm feeling extra energetic.

SoupAddict

Saturday 31st of July 2021

I'm afraid to say specifically how long they'll last because I don't have an official food safety evaluation for it. But, I view it the same as an opened jar of pickles that sits in the fridge. I can't wait until I have enough that are ripe to make new batches - I hope you enjoy the recipe!