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Hot Peppers Peperoncino: Varieties And Basics Of Agricultural Technology
Hot Peppers Peperoncino: Varieties And Basics Of Agricultural Technology

Video: Hot Peppers Peperoncino: Varieties And Basics Of Agricultural Technology

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Peperoncino - hot peppers that will spice up your kitchen and decorate the garden and windowsills

Peperoncino, hot peppers
Peperoncino, hot peppers

The miniature fruits of hot pepper on compact bushes seem to be multi-colored gems. Despite such small size, these are real chests filled with invaluable substances that are beneficial to health due to the huge amount of vitamins they contain, as well as breathtaking with their taste.

This is one of those plants that should not be absent in a house or apartment, even if you only have a balcony. It is very unpretentious, it is content with even a small pot, giving full-fledged fruits and without requiring practically anything.

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From the history of pepper

Bitter capsicum has been known as a "food element" since ancient times. It is known from archaeological documents that it was grown in Mexico as early as 5500 BC. A very long time later, on the ships of Christopher Columbus, pepper was brought to Europe. Spanish commander Herman Cortes discovered the amazing properties of pepper at the court of the noble Aztec Montezuma, having tasted "xocolatl" - an energy drink made on the basis of bitter cocoa fruits and paprika. Therefore, sometimes even hot peppers are called the spice of the Aztecs.

The simplicity of growing capsicum literally ruined the plans of the Colonial-era Spaniards, who dreamed of getting rich by selling a new exotic spice they brought from America worth their weight in gold. But it, contrary to their expectations, perfectly acclimatized, spread quickly and in a very short time became a "drug for the poor" who could not afford other expensive oriental spices to improve the taste of their monotonous and lean food.

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And today there is no spice that can replace it, and the compactness of the pepper bushes, the decorativeness and unpretentiousness of this plant every year expand the territory of its cultivation.

Features of culture

Peperoncino, hot peppers
Peperoncino, hot peppers

In Latin, the name of hot pepper is Capsicum. There are two versions of the origin of such a name:

- translated from Latin - capsa - means a box, which indicates the shape of the pepper fruit;

- translated from Greek - kapto - literally means "sting, bite", which indicates its piquant taste.

Hot pepper (Peperoncino) belongs to the Solanacee family, which includes, for example, medicinal herbs such as Belladonna, Datura (Stramonio), as well as vegetables: tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes. Hot peppers have properties that are characteristic of both members of this family. In the capsicum family, the most common type of pepper is Capsicum annuum, which includes all the peppers that we know: sweet, semi-bitter and bitter. Other species that are cultivated are Capsicum frutescens. In the fifties, they were added: Capsicum pubescens, Capsicum pendulum.

Hot pepper plants are not tall (20-30 cm), they are a miniature, compact bush. Or a slender trunk with sparse thin branches reaching a height of 60 to 120 cm. Its thin shoots branch strongly, giving the plant bulk, while they are thin, but very elastic. The green tone of the leaves and stems varies depending on the variety, some of them even have a blue color. The shape of the leaves of the peppers is more or less elongated, they end with pointed tips, they have streaks that are brighter and more clearly defined.

White or purple pepper flowers are located in the axils of the leaves, their size, shape, as well as the color of the fruits are very diverse.

Hot peppers are mainly cultivated in countries with warm and temperate climates as an annual plant, but there are also perennial species.

All types and varieties of pepper differ from each other:

- in size - from large to very small;

- pod shapes - conical, curved, reminiscent of cherries, lanterns, turban, round, cylindrical and even pear-shaped.

The fruits on bushes of different varieties of pepper can be hanging or upward. By color, the fruits are: white, yellow, orange, red, purple and chocolate. But most importantly, they differ in their stinginess. The pungency, for which the fruits of this plant are actually valued, depends on the content of the alkoloid capsaicin (capsaicina). The largest amount of capsaicin is found in the seeds and inner membrane of fruits, especially ripe ones.

The Aztecs were the first to develop and use a system for determining the hotness of pepper, consisting of 6 steps: from "coco" - bitter to "cocopalatic", which literally can be translated as "bitterness before running away." Currently, a unified Scoville system is used to measure the pungency of pepper fruits. If you measure the presence of capsaicin in sweet "bell peppers" using this system, it will be practically zero, but in capsicum - Capsicum frutescens, grown in the Mediterranean, its indicator reaches 100 thousand units, and in Capsicum chinensis, in particular, in Mexican "Habanero" - up to 300 thousand units.

The capsaicin content directly depends on the size of the fruit (the smaller it is, the more burning). And also the piquancy depends on the cultivation conditions of the plant, climate, weather conditions and the degree of maturity of the fruit, which means that the more ripe it is, the more fiery it is.

Where to plant hot peppers

Peperoncino, hot peppers
Peperoncino, hot peppers

Hot peppers love places that are warm, well-lit, and sheltered from the wind. They especially like it if the sun shines on them after dinner. Usually its small bushes, strewn with small bright fruits, are purchased as a houseplant, but these peppers feel great in containers and outdoors.

The optimum air temperature for plant growth and development throughout the growing season is + 20 … + 26 ° С during the day and + 18 … + 20 ° С - at night. Pepper blooming usually begins in May, and during the summer more and more flowers open on the bush. Therefore, in summer, flowers and fruits of varying degrees of maturity and color can be seen on the plant at the same time, which further enhances its decorative effect. This pepper is unpretentious in care - in the summer it needs abundant watering and feeding.

Indoor-grown pepper is an original decoration for a light-colored kitchen window sill. Its bushes delight with an abundance (up to fifty) of wonderful multi-colored fruits. In the summer, it can be taken out to the balcony or in the garden, and in the fall, the pot with the plant is brought into the room, where the late fruits ripen on a sunny window.

Planting ideas

Hot pepper plants develop rather slowly, but they remain decorative until late autumn - until October. Therefore, I often plant small pepper bushes along with early flowering plants, for example, with Veronica, Saponaria. A wonderful neighborhood is obtained with tulips and hyacinths. This year, in order not to injure the plant during the autumn transplantation into a pot, I “planted” it right in the pot (I buried it by two-thirds in the ground) among the low varieties of autumn asters. The result is very beautiful compositions - pastel colors of beautiful flowers and hot bright peppers. Even on cloudy days, they delight me with enchanting autumn colors. I also plant peppers in the garden with early ripening salads: lettuce and arugula.

Peppers in group plantings look bright, very decorative "spots", only they should not be planted too close to each other (they really do not like close plantings), then their graceful bushes will be densely covered with bright, appetizing fruits. Plants of hot pepper, planted in two rows along the path, will create an elegant border that will “illuminate” the garden until late autumn. A wonderful gift for friends will be a bouquet of a bush of burning fruits, decorated in beautiful paper or ribbons. For example, recently such a bouquet was presented to the leading program "Forum", which is popular in Italy.

Collection and storage of hot pepper fruits

Peperoncino, hot peppers
Peperoncino, hot peppers

Capsicum is harvested at full maturity, when the fruits acquire an intense color and become the most "fleshy". They are carefully cut with scissors, leaving small tips of the stalks on the bush. When collecting, capsaicin can cause a burning sensation and allergies on the skin, so it is better to collect it with gloves or, this advice was given to me by Italian housewives, you need to have a glass of milk or yogurt nearby - the casein and protein contained in dairy products will neutralize capsaicin and reduce the burning sensation.

The most common way to preserve it is to string the peppercorns on a string, like beads for a necklace, or in a beautiful bunch - and leave in the sun to dry (about 7 days). Italian housewives put small, mostly round, fruits in a jar and pour them with olive oil. But the pepper is pre-purified from seeds and boiled for 5-7 minutes in an equal mixture of wine and vinegar. In this form, peppers, they last up to 5-6 months.

Seeds or seedlings?

Peppers are propagated by seeds and cuttings. Extracted from ripe pepper pods, seeds are suitable for sowing. They just need to be dried in a well-ventilated place, just not in the sun. They are placed in paper bags for storage. To obtain seedlings, pepper seeds must be planted in nutritious, "light" soil to a depth of 1 cm, preferably immediately in individual planting cups. They do this when the temperature at night will not drop below 10 ° C or in a heated greenhouse. However, peppers grown from harvested seeds do not always inherit the characteristics of the plant from which they were harvested, as peppers can also have cross-pollination.

Most popular varieties

Peperoncino, hot peppers
Peperoncino, hot peppers

Pepper was and remains the king of spices. Here are the famous varieties:

Ancho - very popular in Mexico, heart-shaped, red-orange, slightly sweet in taste, very high yielding.

Aji is a typical Peruvian variety, the fruit is red in color and the taste is very spicy.

Cayenna is one of the most pungent in the world, has a green and red fruit color, an intense smell, especially common in Africa and the Caribbean

Guajillo is a Mexican variety with chocolate-colored fruits, curved shape, sweetish taste; indispensable for making sauces.

Habanero - grown in Mexico and the Caribbean, it has an elongated fruit of no more than 3 cm, resembling a flashlight. The fruits are colored: orange, red, a new hybrid - white and chocolate. It tastes very hot and has a pleasant aroma. The time from planting to ripening is 75-90 days. Can be grown in pots.

Jalaperio is another Mexican variety best known in Europe, has a medium spicy taste, and is used in the sausage industry.

Prik Chee - fruits are small, green, yellow and red, depending on the degree of ripeness, the taste is moderately spicy, pepper is popular in Thai cuisine.

Peperoncino ciliegina calabrese (Capsicum annuum) - its bushes reach a height of 60 cm, it has spherical fruits no more than 2 cm in diameter, fiery red. This pepper is used both fresh and dried to add a hot taste to sauces and meat dishes. A very productive variety, the bushes are literally strewn with fruits. Grows well and bears fruit in pots.

Medusa (Capsicum annuum) is a very decorative variety, the shape of the fruit resembles the tentacles of the mythological Gorgon medusa, which were on its head. The plant has high productivity, planted in pots will be an excellent decoration for any corner of the balcony, garden, terrace, especially when the fruits begin to ripen, acquiring yellow and red colors. Its piquant taste and pleasant aroma will complement many meat dishes, this variety is very well preserved with oil.

Smol di Calabria Peperoncino diavolino (Capsicum annuum) is a very favorite in Calabria; its name speaks for itself, the bright red peppercorns added to the dishes give the dishes a spiciness that takes your breath away.

Explosive Ember and Explosive Blast (Capsicum frutescens) are very popular varieties in Europe, they add spice and pleasant aroma to dishes, and grow well in pots.

Festival Mix is an ornamental variety with a medium pungent taste. It is an excellent seasoning for dishes, but at the same time its multi-colored fruits can be a "bouquet" for a gift.

Learn more about the varieties and uses of hot peppers →

Medical use

Like many centuries ago, medicine continues to study this unique plant, which contains the largest amount of vitamins C, E. For decades, scientists have been studying capsaicin, the main substance contained in pepper, which gives it a piquant taste and has miraculous therapeutic properties. Capsaicin has antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiarthritic, analgesic properties.

It is used to prevent and treat certain forms of cancer. In Chinese folk medicine, it is used as a sedative and antidepressant to increase appetite. In India - as a stimulant "for the spirit and blood." In the pharmaceutical industry, this pepper is used to make pepper patches, as well as tinctures, extracts. Tincture of fruits, when taken internally, stimulates appetite and improves digestion, externally - acts as a warming agent.

Curious…

Peperoncino, hot peppers
Peperoncino, hot peppers

More "peperoncino" - less wrinkles, according to Calabria. With the "devil", health is better and more fun, so problems and, of course, wrinkles, which are a symbol of fatigue and old age, go away. The word "peperoncino", that is, hot pepper, in Italy is immediately associated with Calabria, although it is present in the cuisine of all regions.

Everyone knows that Calabria is the leader in the number of savory recipes. The inhabitants of Calabria believe that bitter peppers are indispensable in the preparation of dishes that are unique in taste, real culinary works of art. Some recipes contain varieties that are so pungent that it seems like everything is exploding inside, which is why they are called "bombs", and even the packaging design warns about this.

Big fans of this product, who have appreciated its taste and medicinal properties, are enthusiastically promoting its culture all over the world. They created the Academy of "bitter pepper", its members have already found their supporters and admirers. And in some countries of Europe, America, the same ones are already open. The Italian Museum of Bitter Pepper "Peperoncino" is one of the activities of the Academy, in its halls you can learn the history of the plant and see the most famous varieties of "diavolino", as the hottest varieties grown in Calabria are called.

The Peperoncino Festival is held annually in the fall in Calabria. The counters stretch for several kilometers, where dishes with the addition of searing fruit are presented. These are meat products, and cheeses, and vegetables, and fish products. This year, a garland of three million peppercorns 130 meters long was made, which was solemnly carried along the central streets of the city. At the festival, poems and odes are read in his honor, there you can buy paintings as a souvenir or listen to songs that “ignite”, like the “peperoncino” itself.

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