||This article may contain original research. (November 2012)|
The pepper is small and finger-ling sized, slender, and thin-walled. It turns from green to red upon ripening, however it is usually harvested while green. The name refers to the fact that the tip of the chili pepper (唐辛子 tōgarashi ) looks like the head of a lion (獅子 shishi ), and in Japanese it is often abbreviated as shishitō.
There does not seem to be any hard and fast rule to differentiate the hot from mild without breaking it open. Producers often dodge the question; the prefectural agricultural testing center at Kishigawa, Wakayama in 2005 stated that the capsaicin forms more easily in hot and dry conditions in the summer, and even an expert has a difficult time differentiating the hot from the mild growing on the same plant
Therefore, some of the rules bandied about in blog-space etc., may be suspect or only semi-reliable. One supposed rule is that it is spicy if it has fewer seeds, and this can be determined by touch. Some say to try to sniff the pungency. Another says if the tip terminates narrowly then it is hot.
It is said to, like most peppers, have a high concentration of vitamin C.
For cooking, a hole is poked in the pepper beforehand to keep expanding hot air from bursting the pepper. It may be skewered then broiled (grilled), or pan-fried in oil, or stewed in a soy sauce- and dashi-based liquid. It is thin-skinned and will blister and char easily compared with thicker skinned varieties.
See also 
- Murakami, K.; Yamamoto, T.; Fujimoto, K.; Okabe, K.; Masuda, M., Abe, T. and Maeda, K. (2011). "Low-pungent Sweet Pepper Selected under Continuous Fluorescent Illumination". Acta Horticulturae (ISHS) 907: 243–246., abstract quote: "‘Shishito’ (Capsicum annuum L.) is a group of sweet pepper cultivars. Fruits are small, green and non-pungent, but pungent fruits sometimes occur.."
- Matsuhisa, Nobu; Edwards, Mark; Takahashi, Eiichi (2007), Nobu West (preview) (12th ed.), Andrews McMeel Publishing, p. 51, ISBN 9780740765476 Unknown parameter
|isbn10=ignored (help) states "one in every twelve"
- Yomiuri Shimbun Osaka Honsha (2005), Zatsugaku Shimbun(雑学新聞) (preview), PHP研究所, p. 60, ISBN 9784569644325, also posted by blog:新建設 まめ知識:Q.辛くないシシトウの見分け方はありますか？(retrieved Apr-2012)