Perfect varieties in the kitchen
To cook I recommend choosing low or medium spicy varieties, The fact piccantissimi are too invasive to lend itself to many recipes. My favorites are the classic Mexican Jalapeno and the Peruvian aji amarillo, without forgetting "our" Calabrian chili.
The aji amarillo is a Peruvian chili from the robust plant, it is part of the capsicum baccatum species. It is not particularly spicy (around 15,000 Scoville points) and for this reason it can be used safely in the kitchen, in Peru it is used a lot and is often combined with fish. Its fruit is elongated, yellow-orange, about 15 cm long.
Growing it is interesting because it is one rustic variety, very easy to grow.
Legendary variety of Mexican chilli, mainly used in Tex Mex cuisine. What Makes Jalapeno particularly sought after for culinary purposes is the balanced spiciness, which makes it a lot versatile in recipes. Its crunchy and resistant pulp makes it perfect to be stuffed, irresistible with tuna and / or cheese.
The plant is small in size but produces well.
Tabasco is a variety of chilli pepper made famous by classic hot sauce which is obtained from it and which has the same name, is prepared by leaving the pepper ground in salt for a long time. For flavor and spiciness we are talking about a very interesting cultivar, to 50,000 SHU.
From a cultural point of view, Tabasco is a super productive plant, so it's worth trying to put it in the garden.
Beni Highlands (Chili Gentle Cheer)
Chilli from the fruit of lively yellow color, with medium spiciness, the fruits of theeni hihlands pepper are fleshy, 5-6 cm long, with a sweet and aromatic flavor. It is worth planting to experience its flavor.
After quoting the Latin American chilies and tropical varieties, finally we find a local variety of our country: the diavolicchio is the most widely cultivated chili calabria, with a respectable spiciness (150,000 SHU) is a very strong capiscum annuum, even if it certainly does not compete with capsicum chinense. It is worth planting it and harvesting its bright red small fruits, which they are particularly suitable for drying.
Super spicy varieties
Growing super spicy is the pride of many fans, looking for the highest Scoville score (the Scoville scale, as we will see at the end of the article is the method of measuring spiciness, which is expressed in SHU).
Typically the higher degree of capsaicin it is in the cultivars of the capiscum chinense species. The The hottest chili pepper in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records would be the Carolina Reaper, cultivar selected by Ed Currie, crossing Naga Morich and Habanero Red, originally called with the acronym HP22B. The Carolina Reaper records a score of 2,200,000 on the Scoville scale. We find him in the Guinness Book of Records since 2013, when he beat Trinidad Scorpion.
The primacy of the carolina reaper was beaten by the Dragon's Breath with 2,480,000 SHU and then immediately overtaken by the pepper X, Cultivar always selected by Ed Currie spiciness with 3,180,000 SHU. This result has not yet been recorded in the Guinnesses but it makes pepper X the hottest pepper ever.
Here are some top peppers for capsaicin that you can plant in the garden.
With 2.2000 SHU score the Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. It seems that this variety has recently been surpassed but it is still a chilli that has become legendary, with a very high content of capsaicin: a cultivation suitable for the most daring palates.
Also called red chili Chili snake and Red Cobra, high in capsaicin, with a Scoville score above one million units. In 2007 it was the record holder for spiciness, before being overtaken by the Trinidad Moruga. For those who want to test an old glory of piccantissimi it is definitely an interesting cultivar.
Under the name habanero we find several varieties of very interesting and very spicy chili originating Yucatan. Based on the color of the skin we can list the best known:
- Habanero chocolate
- Habanero orange
- Habanero peach
- Red habanero
- Hananero Red Savina
- Spinning top (Habanero orange blob)
- Bullet (Habanero white bullet)
Among the various cultivars of Mexican habanero the Red Savina is the spiciest, can reach 500,000 SHU. Red habaneros are not all that strong, but they generally travel anywhere from 100,000 SHU and up. The habanero chocolate, orange and peach also make your mouth burn, with Scoville levels around 200/300 thousand SHU.
The chili bullet and the top instead are less spicy. The bullet is characterized by its white color, being not very fleshy it is an excellent variety for drying, the top is very beautiful at the plant level and has a pleasant citrus flavor.
Variety of African origin, with the skin of a beautiful bright yellow, the fatalii it is part of the habanero family and does not skimp on capsaicin, reaching to be spicy as well as double that of Calabrian peppers (325,000 SHU).
Pear Shaped (spicy pear)
Plant of the family of capsicum chinense, a close relative of the feared Trinidad Scorpion, from which it is distinguished by its yellow color and by a slightly more regular shape which in the name is associated with that of the pear.
The yellow pear chili has a good fruity flavor, accompanied by a high spiciness. If we want to plant this variety, we must take into account that it has a large plant, reaches 150 in height, so it needs a sixth of a plant a little wider than the other peppers. Even the fruit is fleshy and rather large, this allows you to better appreciate the flavor.
Particularly ornamental variety
The capsicum plant is very beautiful on an aesthetic level and there are really very ornamental varieties of chilli. I believe that any cultivar has its own aesthetic value, but it is worth, however, report some particularly beautiful chillies, ideal for the garden or a well-kept balcony.
Aji Omnicolor (color and flavor)
This species forms one small plant, around 50 cm in height, which makes it very suitable for cultivation in pots, on a balcony well exposed to the sun.
Very ornamental cultivar, because of its characteristic multi-colored fruits, but it is not only aesthetic, since the fruits are aromatic and with a moderate spiciness (50,000 scoville points). The name color and flavor recalls the dual gastronomic and scenic value of this aji.
Very beautifull chili small, the plant with its small multi-colored fruits has a nice aesthetic presence and produces a good amount of hot peppers (95,000 on the Scoville scale). Like the multicolor aji, it is a variety recommended for those who want something ornamental but also edible.
Multicolor ornamental (bonsai pepper)
Another multi-colored ornamental pepper, that is, which has fruits that take on different colors on the same plant, so we can see yellow, purple, green and red at the same time.
It is a small species, so much so that it deserves the nickname of chilli bonsai, for this reason it is an excellent choice if we want something to grow in pots. The fact that it is an ornamental plant does not mean that it does not produce edible fruits, it is pleasant chillies of medium spiciness.
Chilli monkey nipples
Variety of capsicum chinense domesticated from the spicy and aromatic fruit, the monkey nipple is characterized by the picturesque name but also for a good aroma and a discreet spiciness. The small fruits measure the respectable Scoville grade of 150,000, without getting to the crazy numbers of super spicy it is still a fortina cultivar. The plant is of limited size and loves the heat, the origin is South American. A chilli pepper different from the usual and tidy in appearance, the monkey nipple does not look bad even on an ornamental level.
The Mexican condor is a small chilli, with fruits about 2 cm long, of red and purple color. Like the aji, the condor is also a cultivar that combines a pleasant appearance with an aromatic and spicy fruit (around 40,000 SHU) and is a very interesting plant for the vegetable garden.
Thai orange (orange horned pepper)
Variety of chili peppers not very spicy, with 3 cm long orange fruit, with the classic elongated and curved shape that earned it the nickname horned, the Thai orange has an early ripening which makes it ideal for those who start a little late and find themselves having to plant when the season has begun.
The chili hot lemon, as the name implies is a variety of bright yellow color, which records 30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. It's part of the family of aji and capsicum baccatum species. The fruits are elongated and of medium size, the plant is of good size (height about 100 cm, diameter about 70 cm).
Typical Mexican cultivar, which produces conical chillies grouped in bunches, when they are ripe turn upwards and for this reason they are also called "look to heaven".
How to choose the variety to grow
We just listed the many cultivars of chilli, and are but a small part of those present. One has to wonder how to choose which one to cultivate.
There are three main criteria:
- Botanical criterion: cultural cycle and climatic resistance of the plant.
- Aesthetic criterion: ornamental value and size of the plant.
- Gastronomic criterion: degree of spiciness and flavor of the fruit.
The variety suitable for the climate
The most experienced growers know the importance of choose varieties suited to your climate. Some chillies of tropical origin, for example the naga morich, require a hot and humid climate, while there are other cultivars, such as the aji amarillo, which are much more resistant to cold.
This is not a mandatory requirement: with a greenhouse or grow box for indoor cultivation, you can grow any pepper, but if you want to plant it in the garden without too many worries, it is better to check the tolerance of the cultivar.
Also the duration of the crop cycle Important: late ripening chillies require a long hot season, in colder areas it is better to choose early varieties. Again we can get around the problem with a heated seedbed to anticipate sowing, or buying the map directly formed ready for transplant.
Choose ornamental chillies
If the chili is in the garden you can focus on pleasing variety in appearance. In this the multicolor aji and the bonsai pepper are unsurpassed, with their colorful stage presence, but also an orange habanero "top" does not look bad.
If you want to grow in pots, it is good to pay attention to the appearance of the plant, not only for aesthetics but also for the dimension that will reach. Small cultivars certainly lend themselves better to being in containers.
Choose according to taste and use
When choosing, the most important thing is to decide on the most suitable pepper for the use you plan to do, and first of all it is a matter of taste.
Super hot peppers like carolina reaper and naga morich are fun to brag to friends and make for very strong sauces, but often in the kitchen it is more versatile a medium spiciness, for example that of aji.
For make chilli jams It should choose cultivars from fleshy fruit, such as the highlands goods, while on the contrary dry it is simpler having chillies with little pulp. If we want to prepare Stuffed peppers it is necessary to select a fruit of medium size, with resistant skin and pulp, in this the jalapeno is unsurpassed.
The 5 species of chilli
After seeing the most interesting cultivars one small "botanical" appendix: sweet pepper and hot pepper are plants of the nightshade family and of the genus capsicum, in which we find several species. The cultivars grown today are part of 5 species.
This is the most widespread and most cultivated species, the classic sweet peppers, friggitelli and many of the most famous peppers are part of it. Among the capsicum annuum we find the Italian varieties, including the Calabrian ones and many other famous types of chilli such as jalapeno, cayenne, paprika, pimento, nuMex, diavolicchio and charleston.
Chillies species typical especially of Latin America (Bolivia, Peru). Among the capsicum baccatum we find the family of aji, very appreciated in the kitchen for their moderate spiciness, which also leaves room for the flavor of the pepper, there are also some ornamental species.
Frutescens is a species whose cultivars belong decidedly spicy, the most famous is the Tabasco, from which a renowned sauce is obtained. The capsicum frutescens plant is characterized by a sapling habit.
Capsicum chinense is the one they belong to the hottest peppers in the world, including Carolina Reaper (HP22B), who holds the Scoville world scoring record. Among the Chinense we find Mexican habanero and many samples of spiciness very rich in capsaicin: Naga morich, Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Habanero Red Savina. It is about plants rather long to mature, for this reason, if you want to start from the seed, they practically always require a heated seedbed, often also a grow box.
Other species of hot peppers of South American origin (Mexico, Caribbean, Bolivia, Peru), Despite near the equator are the origins of capsicum plants that they resist better the cold, in the areas of origin they were also cultivated at a high altitude (above 1500 meters). Among the cultivars we remember the family of rocoto.
The scoville scale to measure spiciness
The spiciness of the peppers is due to the cContents of capsaicin or capsicin, the active ingredient contained in capsicum. Depending on the variety, the presence of capsicin changes, which we find in very low doses in sweet peppers and instead in massive doses in the more lethal varieties, such as habanero, scorpion and naga morich.
To measure how hot a chili pepper is, a measurement scale dedicated to these fruits is used: the Scoville scale.
The Scoville scale, invented in 1912 by William Scoville is an index that measure the capsaicin content in the fruit. The score is calculated with a formula that places pure capsaicin at the arbitrary value of 16,000,000 Scoville units. Scoville units are indicated with the abbreviation SHU (Scoville Heat Units).
When a score in SHU is indicated for a variety, an approximation is made: in reality every single pepper grown would have its own degree of spiciness, given that the quantity of capsaicin is variable based on many cultivation factors, not just varietal.