Peppers are native to South and Central America, and they come in an astounding range of flavors and levels of heat. Peppers get their heat from the chemical compound capsaicin. They can be a challenge to germinate, but once established will flourish in most gardens with a little fussing. Start seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date. Peppers require heat, so a heat mat can be very helpful. Ideal germination temperature is 78-85 F. Seeds germinate in 7-21 days. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep. It’s important to harden off pepper starts by acclimating them to outdoor temperatures before planting as they are very cold sensitive. Plants should be set about 18-24 inches apart, in full sun, after all chance of frost has passed and the soil has reliably warmed. Provide regular watering.
85-100 days. Capsicum chinese. This is the beloved pepper also known as aji dulce that is so popular in the Caribbean and part of Latin America. Pods are reminiscent of scotch bonnet, but only in shape -- the heat level is super mild, just about 500-1,000 Scoville units, which is much more mild than a habanero. This sweet-fleshed pepper is essential for so many dishes, from sofrito to bean dishes, soups and even just as a raw snack. It is exceptionally versatile and appreciated for its incredible flavor.
Here’s a really outstanding roasting pepper from North Macedonia. Two-foot, stocky plants are covered in 6- to 7-inch, broadly wedge-shaped pods that ripen green to deep, rich red. These peppers are incredibly fragrant and tasty. When you throw half a dozen on your grill, everybody in your neighborhood will smell them! These thick-fleshed traditional peppers are roasted on flat metal stoves, peeled, then ground into a traditional relish called ajvar, which is eaten spread on bread, often with sirenje, a local cheese similar to feta. Nearly every rural household puts up a supply of ajvar for winter eating. In autumn, North Macedonians flock to the markets in fertile valleys in the east to buy bushels of the best aromatic roasting peppers from the local villages. The original seed was a gift from the students in the villages of Kalugeritsa and Zleovo.
An exquisitely gourmet heirloom pimento from the Blue Ridge Moutains of North Carolina. This super sweet red pepper is squat and small, about 3-4 inches wide and just 1-1.5 inches long, but it packs an incredibly flavor - ful, juicy punch. Thanks to its mountainous origins, this variety is appreci - ated for being more early maturing and even a little bit more cold tolerant than other peppers. The tidy plants are just 24-30 inches tall, but they are smothered in scrumptious fruit, perfect for pickling, stuffing, roasting, snacking and for making pimento cheese.
80-90 days. The famous and flavorsome sweet chili of historic Japan. Sure to be a new sensation with chefs and foodies alike. Manganji is recognized as a traditional cultural vegetable in Kyoto, Japan, where it is celebrated as the King of Japanese Chili peppers. Manganji is among the world’s best tasting peppers. These are generally sweet, but often take on a bit of heat, perfect for mild salsas, grilling, roasting and more!
75 days. These sweet, pointed peppers from Poland are as dark and moody as a stormy night sky. Prepare to be utterly transfixed with the ever-changing colors of this gorgeous edible ornamental. The fruit averages 3-4 inches in length. It starts out green, turns to a deep obsidian and finally to a dramatic crimson! Fruit is tender and crispy, and this variety is a standout choice for grilling and frying, but is also sublime for snacking. The medium-size plants are very productive.
80 days. One of the truly great Hungarian peppers. Yellow, flat, ribbed, pumpkin-shaped fruit has the tremendous flavor that peppers from Hungary are famous for. The flesh is very thick, crisp and juicy. This rare variety was collected at a farmers’ market in Matrafured, Hungary, but developed at Szentes, Hungary. A winning variety.
A multicolored sweet pepper and a beloved heirloom of the Philadelphia African American community of the early1900s. A delightfully ornamental sweet pepper that features purple flowers and fruit that transforms from dark purple, to mustard yellow and finally to a vibrant orange as it ripens. We can thank Philadelphia folk artist Horrace Pippin for this extraordinary pepper, as he shared his seeds with William Woys Weaver’s grandfather in the early 1940’s. History remembers Pippin as the first African American painter to be known for expressing his concern about war and social injustices in the themes of his art. His right arm was badly injured in battle during his service in WWI, and as the story goes, Pippin sought out bee sting therapy to alleviate his suffering. H. Ralf Weaver exchanged stings from his hive of bees with Pippin for the seeds of this pepper and other heirlooms that Pippin had collected. These heirlooms are considered heritage varieties of an African American community of the mid-Atlantic during Pippin’s time. A very rare and unique variety.
75 days. Reliable and well-adapted plants produce high yields of this delicious onyx-colored pepper. These compact plants average 18 inches in height, with large, 4-inch black fruit that ripen to deep purple. These gorgeous peppers are flavorful, crisp and juicy with a thick wall, perfect raw or cooked. Note these peppers will lose their color in cooking.
Pronounced (cho-dee-share-dow) A sweet frying pepper that is a traditional variety of the Basque people. This super rare and delicious pepper can be found growing across Europe’s Basque country; it is a key ingredient in Biscaya sauce and other delicious regional recipes. The thin-skinned, totally sweet peppers are traditionally strung into garlands and hung for later rehydration and use and can also be ground into paprika. Also excellent for fresh use, we love them raw in salads or blistered on the grill. This particular strain was brought to Boise, Idaho, over 50 years ago by Ben Goihiadia, whose family owns Peaceful Belly Farms. In the early 1900s many Basques emigrated to Idaho for sheep herding jobs, and now Boise is a “little Basque country” of sorts.