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Horace Pippin’s Fish Peppers

Food

2023

Fish peppers add spice and heat to many different seafood sauces and dishes.

Originally from the Caribbean, immigrants brought fish peppers to the mid-Atlantic region in the late 1800s where Black communities used them in seafood sauces. When young, the peppers are white, adding spice to cream sauces without changing the color. Fish peppers grow spicier as they mature, developing green stripes that darken to orange and red. The peppers were collected in the Philadelphia area by the African American painter Horace Pippin. He traded fish pepper seeds for bees to treat his wounded arm with bee sting therapy.