Pepper Page

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Peppers are amazing creatures. Although supermarkets tend to sell very few kinds — mostly the big “sweet” bell peppers that at best have nice crunch and color but not much taste, many different kinds are found around the world. The differ not just in size, color, and amount of hotness, but also in other qualities of taste. The peppers that are used on Oaxaca for traditional dishes such as mole are different from the ones used in the Basque country or in India or Jamaica or Italy … or anywhere else!

We have had fun searching out seeds from different regions of the world to grow the peppers that are used locally for many different world regional dishes.  We specialize in range from sweet (lacking the chemical capsaicin that creates the “hotness”) to medium hot peppers. We don’t grow the ones that will burn your face off.

The “hotness” (burning qualities) of peppers is widely measured Scoville Scale, developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville, which measures the pungency of peppers in terms of its number of SHUs (Scoville Heat Units) from 0 (a sweet pepper with no capsaicin) to millions (we’re not going near that). So we clue you into how hot a pepper is by telling you the rough number of SHUs. Note that individual peppers of one kind can vary a lot, and the hotness depends on whether it’s dried, fresh, cooked, or what. So, for example, jalapeño peppers, which are familiar and popular in the U.S., are listed as 2,500-8,000 SHUs.

We sell some pepper plant starts in the spring, fresh peppers when they ripen — probably no earlier than August, and we sell dried pepper powders all year — all through Gilmanton’s Own Market. they are packed in small vials.  We can also take special orders for larger quantities.

Pepper Powders: Sold through Gilmanton’s Own Market

Why buy generic “hot pepper flakes” in the supermarket when you can get tasty varieties of different spicy peppers that give your cooking different flavors? You have no idea what’s in those “hot pepper flakes” or how they were grown.

Our peppers are selected from heirloom varieties that are specialties from different parts of the world — mostly from Mexico, where home cooks and chefs alike pride themselves on using the best local pepper varieties for their most important dishes, like mole sauces . (Actually, there are at least 7 different traditional mole sauces, using different ingredients and different peppers.)  But we like to experiment with different varieties of peppers in different dishes, just to have fun and great taste.

Find these currently at Gilmanton’s Own Market Online (gilmantonsown.com). Contact us with questions at vsapiro@gmail.com

Chilhuacle Amarillo: (medium heat): One of the trio of chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, also grown throughout the Andes. Chilhuacle means “ancient chile” in Nahualt, the language of the Aztec peoples. Amarillo means yellow in Spanish. This pepper is rare, having been threatened by disease in its native areas. As its name says, yellow when ripe. a little salty and acidic, with bitter orange and sour cherry tones, bearing smokey undertones, some melon and seediness, and sweetness in the finish. An important ingredient in mole amarillo.   Pronounce: chil-wahh-klay  ah-mah-reeyo.

Chilhuacle Negro (1,500-2,500 SHUs): An ancient, rare chile from one particular region of Oaxaca, Mexico.  Chilhuacle means “ancient chile” in Nahualt, the language of the Aztec peoples. Although the name translates as “black,'” it is actually brown when ripe. One of the trio of Chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, a core ingredient in the classic mole negro.  It has notes of cocoa, tobacco and dried fruit. Very flavorful. Pronounce: chil-wahh-klay nay-groe

Chilhuacle Rojo (1,000 SHUs): One of the trio of chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, red (“rojo”) when ripe. Chilhuacle means “ancient chile” in Nahualt, the language of the Aztec peoples. Smoky-sweet taste. Some say it tastes of cherries, dried figs, and anise. Pronounce: chil-wahh-klay  roe-hoe

Guajillo (2,500-5,000): classic pepper from Mexico (mostly Zacatecas) for salsa for tamales. There’s a bit of sweetness to them — kind of a berry flavor. Red when ripe. Pronounce: gwa-hee-yo.

Negro De Valle (4,500 SHUs): From Chihuahua, Mexico, this pepper turns from green to brown when mature. Both sweet and spicy, makes a good chili powder.

Hungarian Paprika: This is nothing like the paprika you buy in the supermarket that gives you red color but virtually no taste. This is a spicy (but not super hot), tasty paprika — gives you good taste.  Use it for traditional Hungarian dishes or any time you want a little kick but not too much.

Fresh Peppers Now in Season

  • Alcalde: Medium hot (2,500 SHU), red, 2.75″x 1.25″. Bred in northern New Mexico by the Casados family.
  • Mosco:  Hot (5,000-6,000 SHU). Smoky fruitiness, the official pepper of Colorado. Small but Packs taste.

Fresh Peppers Soon in Season

  • Aleppo:  Also known as Halaby. 10,000 SHY, has a frutinessto it with a good kick. Usually dried. Widely used in Turkey, Armenia.
  • Ancho Poblano:  Usually picked green. Mild hot 1,000-1,500 SHU.  Originates from Puebla, Mexico.   Often stuffed . Harvested red to dry. A staple Mexican pepper.
  • Cascabel:  Mild hot (2,000-2,500 SHU). Reddish brown. Woodsy, acidic, slightly smoky. Grown in many Mexican states.  Used for chilaquiles.
  • Chilhuacle Amarillo: (medium heat): One of the trio of chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, also grown throughout the Andes. Chilhuacle means “ancient chile” in Nahualt, the language of the Aztec peoples. Amarillo means yellow in Spanish. This pepper is rare, having been threatened by disease in its native areas. As its name says, yellow when ripe. a little salty and acidic, with bitter orange and sour cherry tones, bearing smokey undertones, some melon and seediness, and sweetness in the finish. An important ingredient in mole amarillo. We dry them and sell them all year.
  • Chilhuacle Negro (1,500-2,500 SHUs): An ancient, rare chile from one particular region of Oaxaca, Mexico.  Chilhuacle means “ancient chile” in Nahualt, the language of the Aztec peoples. Although the name translates as “black,'” it is actually brown when ripe. One of the trio of Chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, a core ingredient in the classic mole negro.  It has notes of cocoa, tobacco and dried fruit. Very flavorful. We dry them and sell them all year.
  • Chilhuacle Rojo (1,000 SHUs): One of the trio of chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, red (“rojo”) when ripe. Chilhuacle means “ancient chile” in Nahualt, the language of the Aztec peoples. Smoky-sweet taste. Some say it tastes of cherries, dried figs, and anise. We dry them and sell them all year.
  • Doux des Landes: Sweet with no heat. Looks like a long, skinny cayenne.  From the Basque region; used in piperade.
  • Guajillo (2,500-5,000): classic pepper from Mexico (mostly Zacatecas) for salsa for tamales. There’s a bit of sweetness to them — kind of a berry flavor. Red when ripe. We dry them and sell them all year.
  • Israeli Sweet Pepper: Ripen to yellowish orange. 3-4″ long.
  • Leutschauer (Hungarian) Paprika: This is nothing like the paprika you buy in the supermarket that gives you red color but virtually no taste. This is a spicy (but not super hot), tasty paprika — gives you good taste.  Use it for traditional Hungarian dishes or any time you want a little kick but not too much. Nice fresh, but we dry them and sell them all year.
  • Lipstick Pepper:  Red, 4″ long tapered like a paprika.
  • Mulato Isleno:  Similar to Anchos but hotter. (2,500-3,000 SHU’s). Dark brown. Smoky, fruity, chocolaty flavor.
  • Nora:  Small, round,  sweet (1-1,000 SHU’s), . It is said Columbus brought it back from t the Americas, left it with monks in Spain (at La Nora),  where it was cultivated, mainly in Valencia. Used almost exclusively dried to make Pimenton, used in many local Spanish dishes such as paella, cocidos, chorizo.  We dry it and sell it all year.
  • Omarkso Kambe:  Red, heart shaped sweet pepper. From Bulgaria.
  • Orange Bell:  Our only bell pepper.
  • Pasilla Oaxaca: Hot (4,000-10,000 SHU) Oaxacan pepper that is red/black when ripe.
  • Pasilla Apaseo: Sweet with some smoke and a little kick (1,000 SHU). Roasted while green, or allowed to ripen. From Oaxaca.
  • Pimenta Moranga: Pretty hot Brazilian pepper. Red, teardrop shaped
  • Pimento Sweet, small, red.
  • Pippins Golden Honey:  Very sweet orange pepper discovered and bred by an African American folk artist,  Horace Pippin.
  • Romanian Sweet: Red 4″x2″ peppers brought to the U.S. by a Romanian acrobat.
  • Szegedi Giant Sweet: From Hungary.  Huge. Good yello, orange, or red.
  • Zolotistyi Sweet: Developed in Minsk. Golden yellow, thick walled, sweet, juicy.