Small Garden

How to Grow and Make Yummy Shishito Peppers and Mojitos

There’s nothing more refreshing than a Mojito cocktail on a hot summer’s day.

No surprise the Mojito hails from Havana Cuba where the sun is always hot and the rum is plentiful. The recipe may be traced all the way back to Sir Francis Drake the explorer, who was rumored to have used it as a remedy for sick sailors in 1586.

It’s a very tasty remedy for a hot day and a surefire way to quench your thirst no matter what island you find yourself on!

You’ll find many variations on the Mojito recipe but I happen to think you can’t beat the original one for taste.

how to make a mojito

The main ingredients are white rum, sugar syrup, lime juice, mint and soda water. The lime and mint provide the herbal citrusy tang with the rum and sugar syrup sweetening the deal.

Sugar syrup is simply white sugar dissolved in water. If you’re making a batch or pitcher of mojitos, measure out about 1/4 cup of sugar (4 oz) into a bowl and pour almost boiling water over the sugar. Stir til the sugar dissolves. Once it cools you can add it to your recipe.

Alternately you can gently cook the sugar and water in a pot or in the microwave until you create a syrup.

A quick substitute for simple or sugar syrup is clear Agave nectar which comes in a squeeze container.

Mojito Recipe

  1. Start with a tall highball glass or water glass
  2. Squeeze half a lime in and add a squirt of sugar syrup or agave.
  3. Add torn fresh mint leaves in bottom of the glass and gently crush or “muddle” with a spoon
  4. Pour a jigger of white rum over mint mixture and stir
  5. Fill glass 2/3 full with crushed ice
  6. Fill to top with soda water and stir

Voila! You have a delicious mojito to sip and enjoy.

how to make a mojito

No Alcohol Mojito

Substitute a little lime soda, Sprite or lime presse for the rum.

Another option is sparkling lime seltzer such as La Croix or lime Perrier in place of soda water/rum.

The Perfect Snack to Pair with Mojitos

As our Mojito originated in Cuba, the perfect complement to it’s citrusy minty twang would be pork tacos or mini empanadas.

You want a little grease, a little fat and a silky feel in your mouth to offset the lime.

If you’re looking for something super easy to prepare, I suggest cooking up some Shishito peppers. They’re small, wrinkly and delish.

These little peppers add the right amount of kick, salt and grease to pair deliciously with your mojito. Quick and easy to prepare and best of all you eat them with your fingers.

If you haven’t tried shishito peppers yet, get down to your local Trader Joe’s or farmers market and buy some!

We discovered these little peppers as an appetizer in a Denver restaurant. I was tickled to find them locally and scooped up a bag immediately try to replicate the restaurant version.

how to grow shishito peppers

Blistered Shishito Pepper Appetizer

  • Preparation couldn’t be easier. Simply rinse the peppers in a strainer and let dry or pat dry with a towel.
  • Heat up a skillet or fry pan with a little olive or coconut oil and drop the peppers in whole.
  • They should sizzle when you drop them in. Watch out for spatters.
  • Don’t fill the pan with your peppers as the moisture will steam them.
  • You want a crispy charred outside and just a little soft inside.
  • Split your bag of peppers into a couple of batches if you need to. They taste better hot off the pan anyway.
  • As the peppers start catching and blistering, do a Bobby Flay wrist flip with your pan so they’ll brown evenly.
  • Once the pan is hot, it’s 5 minutes start to finish.
  • Flip them out on a plate, sprinkle on some sea salt and a maybe a squirt of fresh lemon or lime juice.
  • Pick them up by the stem and pop the pepper in your mouth seeds and all. You’ll soon have a plate full of stems!

They’re generally pretty mild as peppers go. Once in a while you’ll get a medium to hot one. Rarely you may be surprised by one that makes your mouth go wooooah!

If you’d like to amp up the flavor and grease factor, try using Trader Joes Sriracha Ranch dressing as a dip. A sprinkle of grated cheddar or Monterey Jack over the peppers while they’re still warm works too. Yum.

If you can’t find Shishito peppers, look for the Padron variety.

how to grow shishito peppers

How to Grow Mint, Shishitos and Limes in Pots

How to Grow Shishito Peppers in a Pot

You can grow Shishito peppers from seed, but it’s easier to start with small plants you buy at a local garden center or online. They should be “hardened off” and ready to plant outdoors.

Plant 2-4 small plants per 5 gallon pot. Put them in a sunny or south facing location where they’ll get 6-8 hours of sun per day. They like as much sun as your lime tree does.

Ideal growing temperature is between 60-90 F.

Water when dry, allowing soil to dry out between. In summer heat you may need to water every day.

Once they start putting out top leaves, feed with a nitrogen based fertilizer at least once a month.

Once your peppers are 3-5” long you can pick them! If you like them mild pick them when they’re small, as they will get hotter the bigger they grow. If your peppers turn red they’re fully mature.

How to Grow Limes in a Pot for Mojitos

Growing limes in a pot is fairly easy if you have a sunny spot on a patio or balcony. You can even grow limes in containers inside, just be sure you have good sun exposure for the plant to develop and fruit. I go into more detail here on how to grow limes from grafted plants you can buy.

I don’t recommend growing from seed unless you’re extremely patient!

how to grow limes in a pot

How to Grow Mint in a Pot for Mojitos

Mint is easy to grow in pots or containers and will come back year after year.

Pick up small plants in the spring or anytime your garden center has them. Pop them in a pot with a well drained soil. Give them a large enough pot to spread out in. Mint can be invasive so unless you want plants taking over your garden, a container is the best way to enjoy it.

Mint tolerates light shade and is a great plant for those shaded areas of your patio.

Keep harvesting new growth to stimulate the plant to keep growing.

Late summer when it’s finished flowering is a good time to cut your mint back. Fertilize to get new growth in the fall.

Mint doesn’t like to get too dried out, so keep it watered (but not wet) and keep on picking!

how to make a mojito

Varieties of mint to grow for Mojitos
Not all mint is created equal. Try these varieties for the best taste in your Mojito.
– Bowles
– Lime
– Variegata

Depending on the size of the plants you start with, it will take from a few months to a year before your pepper, mint and lime plants are fully grown and ready to harvest. Once they’re established, you’ll be able to pick and enjoy throughout the years to come.

 

how to grow shishito peppers and mint