Peppers are another member of the Solanaceous or Nightshade family. A tender, warm-season vegetable like eggplants and tomatoes, peppers grow slightly less tall than eggplants but don’t mind a bit of support so they don’t fall over from the weight of their fruit.
Keep in mind you should rotate this entire family. That is, it won’t do to plant peppers or eggplants where you had tomatoes the year before. To do so will encourage diseases and insects specific to that entire family.
Do you want to add a little kick and a little flavor to your dish? Hot peppers are gastronomically indispensable. Adding hot peppers to your food is always an adventure.
They come in all shapes, sizes and colors but how hot is each type of pepper? Actual pepper heat is described by the convention known as Scoville units.
The Scoville scale is a measurement of capcaisin concentration. Too complicated? Just compare the numbers and you’ll have a good idea of what you are getting into. Keep in minds though that nothing works so well as tasting the pepper before you use it!
Our hot peppers available in order of heat:
These are a mild hot pepper, called Pablano when green and Ancho when dried. They are used for roasting, making chili powder and for sauces, especially mole. Nice productive disease resistant hybrid. Dark green to deep brick red. 2,000 Scoville units—sweet and savory flavor. I love these for flavoring dishes without getting too hot. Hybrid. (65 green, 85 red)
At 2,000-5,000 Scoville units, this open-pollinated heirloom has just a bit of heat, mostly in the ribs and seeds and just right for many of us who don’t want a really hot pepper, but something with a nice flavor. Very juicy small 21/2″ long pepper the shape of a jalapeno, black in color, finally turning to a garnet color if allowed to ripen fully. A manageable 2.5 to 3′ bush. (65 days).
At 5,000 Scoville units (one of the hottest Jalapeno varieties), this vigorous plant has high yields of nice-sized jalapenos without typical cracking typical. Jalafuego has a large vigorous plant with excellent yields of extra-large, smooth, and very dark green fruit. This one produces well for us and is disease-resistant. (70 days)
A traditional Serrano with 3″ fruits on large plants. Produces all season long and is disease resistant at 6,000 – 16,000 Scoville units. The dark green fruits are traditionally eaten green but also make fine chipotles if allowed to ripen to red. They are perfect for fresh salsa and pickling or homemade hot sauces. (57 days).
This is an heirloom variety that originates from Calabria, Italy. Amazing looking 8-10” long thin-fleshed fruits taper to a skinny tip. Green to bright red, use for homemade hot sauce or dry for ristras or hot pepper flakes. Hotter than Serrano at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. (60 days green, 85 days red)
Tiny little peppers on 8” bushy squat plant. There will be hundreds of these fruits on each plant. They are very hot at 80,000 Scoville units and turn from green to red quickly. Small conical fruits stand erect above the foliage. This plant is also easy to relocate inside for the winter, or pull the entire plant and hang for drying. Open-pollinated. (82 days)
Our hottest pepper for this season at 200,000 to 325,000 Scoville units. Habenero is a Scotch-Bonnet type and is variety capsicum chinensis. In general, hotter climates and warmer weather will produce hotter peppers. Capsicum chinensis needs a longer, hotter summer than Capsicum annuum (most other peppers) and should not be planted until the weather is settled—perhaps mid to late May. Plants will be available a week or two after the other peppers. Dark green to tangerine. Open pollinated. (90 days)
In the United States, the term “sweet pepper” encompasses a wide variety of mild peppers that, like the chile, belong to the capsicum family.
Sweet peppers can range in color from pale to dark green, from yellow to orange to red, and from purple to brown to black. Their color can be solid or variegated. Their usually juicy flesh can be thick or thin and the flavors can range from bland to sweet to bittersweet.
The origin of sweet peppers can be traced to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Central America. In 1492 Columbus first mentioned the sweet pepper as a spice.
Vibrant yellow/orange color with excellent sweet flavor. Flavorburst begins the color of Granny Smith apples and ripens to a lovely shade of goldenrod. Thick-walled, crisp and juicy, the expected peppery bite overlaid with a zesty surge of lemon. So sweet and delicious, it’s like growing an entirely new sort of vegetable! Very sweet, even when it’s still green! Hybrid (72 days)
Purple peppers are always a favorite, as they are so colorful. This is a good producing purple bell pepper on a compact plant. Very nice medium-sized sweet bell. These are purple-green-deep red. At the purple stage, they taste just like a green bell pepper, but are really striking with their deep purple color. Open-pollinated— you can save seeds on this one. (74 days)
Other Sweet Peppers
The Boldog from Hungary that doesn’t bite but does dry nicely with a hint of spiciness. A prolific bearer of 4-6” long wrinkled, tapered, pendant fruits. Pick red and dry, grinding into sweet paprika, string decorative ristras or enjoy fresh. Dries nicely with a hint of spiciness, but is not hot. Open-pollinated. (71 days)
For sweet peppers that taste wonderful roasted, plant Carmen. This Italian pepper is a bull’s horn type (corno di toro), so named for its elongated shape. The sweet flavor is present in fruits from the time they form. Great roasting or salad pepper, especially in the red stage or as it begins to turn red. Very productive with medium-thick walls. Hybrid. (70 days)
This yellow-green to red tapered fruit is prized for a sweet, mild flesh that is growing in popularity because of its rich flavor and pretty colors for frying and cooking. The thin-walled pepper is especially suited for quick cooking. In the garden, Cubanelle peppers are unique, often growing in imperfect shapes and changing color from green/yellow to shades of orange to red. Don’t be surprised if the some of the peppers curl and twist a bit. No two seem to ever be alike—it’s part of of their charm. Incredible producer. Open-pollinated. (80 days)
These ruby red pimiento type peppers are some of the sweetest, most delicious available. They are juicy, thick-walled, cone-shaped peppers are 4” long and fat at the top. They are delicious in salads, but can also be roasted or used in salsas. Dependable producer. Some say it is like eating an apple—a favorite for many. Hybrid. (55 days)
No, this is not a chain of supermarkets owned by the infamous United Fruit Corporation, but is a favorite banana pepper. Nor is this a chiquita pepper, being quite long at 5–8″, early, sweet, continuously setting and productive.
You know this one! Produces lots and lots of 6-8” thin-walled banana shaped peppers that are great raw (or cooked) and also make really wonderful Sweet Pickled Banana Peppers. Early, sweet and keeps producing. Hybrid. (64 days).