Quick Guide to Identifying Our Homegrown Hot Peppers:
Jalapeño: The jalapeño or jalapeno is a medium-sized chili pepper. A mature jalapeño fruit is 2–3½ inches long and is commonly picked and consumed while still green, but occasionally it is allowed to fully ripen and turn crimson red. Pickled jalapeños sliced or whole, are often served hot or cold on top of nachos. Did you know that the peppers that we call “chipotles” are actually just smoked, ripe jalapeños?
Long Hot Peppers: Italian long hot peppers have one of the longer maturity times for most varieties, ranging from 72 to 120 days. The pepper itself, however, is on the average size, with thin walls and a length of eight inches and width of three-quarters of an inch. During maturity, the fruit for all Italian long hot peppers changes from green to red and, taste-wise, all pepper have a mild but somewhat spicy flavor. Plant these with 18 inches apart in your garden and in rows with 30 inches in between.
Cherry Bombs: Named for their resemblance to the familiar fruit, cherry peppers are round and red. They range in pungency from mild to moderately hot. Cherry peppers are sold fresh, and also are commonly pickled and sold in jars.
Anchos: The ancho is a mild chili pepper originating in Mexico. While anchos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably, they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity. One of the most popular peppers grown in Mexico, the ancho is dark green in color and can range from 3 to 6 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide.
Habaneros: The habanero chili is one of the most intensely spicy species of chili peppers. Unripe habaneros are green, and they color as they mature. Common colors are orange and red, but white, brown, and pink are also seen. Typically a ripe habanero is 1-2 inches long. The habanero’s heat, its fruity, citrus-like flavor, and its floral aroma have made it a popular ingredient in hot sauces and spicy foods. Habaneros are sometimes placed in tequila bottles, particularly in Mexico, for a period ranging from several days to several weeks, to make a spiced version of the drink.