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 a lot of 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 expanded the range of peppers we grow — we have had fund 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 will be selling peppers, largely through Gilmanton’s Own Market, when they ripen — probably no earlier than August. We can also take special orders through restaurants. We will also sell seedlings if you order them in advance by the end of March.
pictured: paprika and sweet chocolate pepper
Some heirloom pepper seedlings in the spring (May-June)
Great varieties of heirloom peppers in the summer (August-September)
Delicious pepper powders all year.
Here is our current collection of peppers — we expect to grow these again next year.
Sweet (0-200 on the Scoville Scale)
- Doux d’Espagne (0 SHUs): This big red sweet pepper became popular in Paris in the mid-19th century when it was shipped in from the south of Spain and Algeria. Big green or (when ripe) red peppers for eating raw or cooking.
- Doux des Landes (0 SHUs): A paprika type from the South of France, found widely in French culinary markets. Most associated with Basque Piperade. A red pepper sometimes called the Spanish Mammoth.
- Friariello di Napoli (0 SHUs): Italian frying pepper. Good green or red.
- Israeli Sweet (0 SHUs): These come from outside Jerusalem, and ripen from green to yellow to orange. Nice small pepper.
- Lipstick (0 SHUs): A 4″ long tapered sweet red pepper.
- Orange Bell Pepper (0 SHUs): familiar orange bell pepper
- Omarsko Kambe (0 SHUs): A beautiful heart-shaped red sweet pepper from Bulgaria.
- Pimento (100 SHUs): Very mild peppers used when red. That’s the pepper in pimento cheese (obviously). It is often used dried and called “paprika” — the sweet kind without any kick.
- Pippins Golden Honey (0 SHU): Ripens from black to purple to orange. Very sweet.
- Romanian Sweet (0 SHUs): A sweet pepper brought to the U.S. in 1991 by a Romanian acrobat. It matures from yellow to red.
- Szegedi Giant Sweet (0 SHUs): A sweet pepper originally from Hungary. It matures from white to yellow to orange to red. Nice to eat from the yellow stage on.
- Zolotistyi Sweet (0 SHUs): Developed in Minsk, these sweet, juicy, golden yellow peppers are very nice fresh.
Spicier (500-2,500 SHUs)
- Alcalde (2,500 SHU): Small peppers from northern New Mexico. Starts green turns red when ripe.
- Cascabel (1,000-2,500 SHU): Grown in several Mexican states. Ripens to deep red. Woodsy, acidic, slightly smoky with tobacco and nutty undertones. Used especially for chilaquiles. AKA guajones, coras chile bola, rattle chile.
- Cherry Bomb (2,500 SHUs): Cute little round hot red peppers.
- Chilhuacle Negro (1,500-2,500 SHUs): One of the trio of Chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, an ingredient in the classic mole negro. This one turns brown and leathery when dried.
- Chilhuacle Rojo (1,000 SHUs): One of the trio of chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca. This on is red when ripe. Smoky-sweet taste. Some say it tastes of cherries and anise.
- 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 for use all year.
- Jalapeño (2,500 SHUs): Probably the most familiar hot pepper in the U.S.Use green or red.
- Leutschauer Paprika (<1,000 SHUs): originally from Hungary and Slovakia. We use these small red peppers fresh (a nice little kick) and we dry them to use as a spicy paprika.
- Nora (500 SHUs): Originally from Spain and used widely in Spanish cooking, these squat little red peppers resemble cascabels. An “earthy” taste, they are often used in chorizo sausages and in other Spanish dishes like paella. They are often used dried as a kind of sweet “paprika.”
- Pasilla Apaseo (<1,000 SHU). From Oaxaca. Roast when still dark green; ripens to brown. Sweet with some smoke flavor.
- Pasilla Bajio-Chilaca (1,000-2,000 SHU). Originally from Mexico, good for mole, salsas, enchilada sauce. Smoky, earthy, when dried; fruity.
- Poblano (1,000-1,500 SHUs): Originally from Puebla, Mexico. Traditional for chiles rellenos when green and fresh, when it is called “poblano.” After it turns red (and hotter) it is dried as the ancho poblano and used in many different Mexican recipes.
Spiciest (>2,500 SHUs)
- Aleppo (10,000 SHU): Also known as Halaby pepper. Well known among Armenian, Syrian, and Turkish cooks for its slight saltiness and cumin-like flavor. Often thought of as slightly sweet, like sundried tomatoes. Usually used dried.
- Chilhuacle Amarillo (5,000 SHUs?): One of the trio of chilhuacle peppers from Oaxaca, also grown throughout the Andes. This pepper is rare, having been threatened by disease in its native areas. As its name says, yellow when ripe. Used fresh or dried. An important ingredient in mole amarillo.
- Mosco (5,000-6,000 SHU): Developed by the Colorado Agricultural Experimental Station. Thick fruit walls, smoky fruitiness. Red mirasol type.
- Mulato Isleno (2,500-3,000 or sometimes less). Similar to ancho but more full-bodied. Ripens to dark brown. A bit sweet with hints of smoky chocolate, licorice, star anise, cherries, coffee … prunes when dried.
- 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.
- Pasilla Oaxaca (4,000-10,000 SHU). Yes, Oaxacan. Matures from green to orange to deep red/black. Thin skin. Smoky flavor with a real bite.
Way Spiciest (>30,000 SHUs)
- Italian Christmas Peppers: Traditionally in many parts of Italy people use beautiful little pepper plants with colorful small peppers that point upward the way people in the U.S. use poinsettias. Our seeds came from Italy (taken off our Christmas pepper plants), and will be available in red and orange, spear shaped and round. They are edible, but very hot!
- Pimenta Moranga (like a habanero). From Brazil. Light purple clusters that ripen through orange, finally red.