I finally planted the dozen peppers I bought (mostly from Jeff’s Garden of Eaton, and absolutely worth the trip out River Road) a couple of weeks ago. The soil’s not quite built up enough in the front bed, so I had to dig clay out and fill the holes with better soil. Not too much fun in the rain. But the peppers are large and beautiful, and I was able to score the same Hungarian varieties that did well last year, plus a number of new ones, including a Turkish pepper and an Ethiopian berebere. Here are the varieties I’ve planted for 2011. What are you planting?
Culinaria Capsicum 2011
- Aji Crystal
Capsicum annuum. Originally from Curico, Chile. Very heavy set of 3½” long fruits on large 3′ plants. Waxy fruits ripen light green to yellow to reddish-orange. Excellent spicy citrus flavor is best when immature, great for salsa. 90 days from transplant. HOT.
- Ancho 101
Capsicum annuum. When fresh and still green, these mildly hot, heart-shaped peppers are stuffed and made into chiles rellenos. When mature they are dark, rust red, richly flavored, and often dried and ground into chili powder. Peppers become 4 inches long, tapering to a blunt point. Wrinkled skin takes on even more character when dried. May be strung into long ropes or made into wreaths. 76 to 80 days.
- Berebere Hot
Capsicum annuum. Medium size plant produces good yields of 3-5″ long by 0.75″-1″ wide medium heat with thick flash uprihgt fruits, ripen from green to coffee brown. Origin: Ethiopia.
- Black Hungarian
Capsicum annuum. Unique, black-colored fruit that are the shape of a Jalapeno. They are mildly hot and have a delicious flavor. The tall plants have beautiful purple flowers. Rare and colorful! 75 days.
- Chilhuacle Negro
Capsicum annuum. This prized and very expensive chile is, like the related chilhuacle amarillo, grown commercially only in southern Mexico. Shiny, dark, mahogany in color, and shaped like a miniature bell pepper or almost heart shaped. Measures about 2 to 3 inches long and the same across at the shoulders. One of the most flavorful of all chiles, it has a deep, intense fruit flavor, with tones of dried plum, tobacco, and licorice, and a subtle, spicy heat. Used to make the black mole sauces that are a specialty of the Oaxaca region.
- Facing Heaven
Capsicum annuum. An essential chile for authentic Szechuan cuisine. Cone-shaped, medium-hot chili pepper with very thin skin, between 3 and 6 centimeters in length, and 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter at the base. Originally from Sichuan province in Southwest China, it owes its name to the fact that it grows upside down. When lightly fried in oil it turns radiant red and loses enough of its heat to allow for it to be eaten whole.
- Gatherer’s Gold Italian Sweet
70 days. A gorgeous, golden variation of the quintessential, sweet Italian frying pepper. Long, tapered, smooth-skinned fruit are sweet and tasty with relatively few seeds. Fruits remain golden even at full maturity and are superb fried or raw. Large, vigorous plants.
- Giant Szegedi
Capsicum annuum. Originally from Hungary, this wedge-shaped sweet pepper starts out white then deepens to orange and red when fully ripe. Pendant fruit is about 4-1/2 inches long with thick, sweet flesh, and is produced in great abundance, even when weather is cooler or conditions are less than ideal. 75 days.
- Manzano/Rocoto Yellow
Capsicum pubescens. Black seeds, purple blooms & “hairy” plant are unique to this species (Capsicum pubescens). Rocotos grow in the Andean cloud forest and can live for many years if protected from hard frosts.The thick-fleshed 2-3″ pods resemble apples, are very hot but have a delicious flavor reminiscent of apricots. Uses include salsas, hot sauce, chutneys and rellenos. Can be dried or smoked.
- Szegedi Paprika
Capsicum annuum. Another sweet paprika pepper from Hungary. Red, tapered fruits.
- Tunisian Baklouti
Capsicum annuum. The traditional pepper of Tunisia. Large red, tapering pods have a wonderful hot flavor, but tend to get more mild with cooking. An essential ingredient in harissa sauce. Delicious flavor that is perfect with couscous, and other wonderful North African dishes.