Don’t let their size fool you, these diminutive peppers pack a hot and spicy punch.
Hot, or chili peppers come in many varieties ranging from the super-hot “ghost chile” to the milder banana pepper. All chili peppers get their varying levels of heat from capsaicin, the active component that produces the burning sensation in the mouth and throat. So hot that they’re even mildly antibacterial, chili peppers were used in Mayan pharmacopoeia as ingredients in herbal remedies. Chili peppers also contain high amounts of vitamins C and A, as well as heightened beta-carotene levels. The heat of chili peppers is measured in Scoville units, and increases as the size of the peppers decreases. Red chilies tend to be hotter than their green and yellow counterparts. Red Tomato works with growers who produce several different varieties of hot peppers, including:
Cubanelles (0-1,000 Scovilles)
Considered a sweet pepper, cubanelles are light green when unripe, turning to bright red if allowed to ripen. Usually 4-6 inches long and slightly banana-shaped, cubanelles are great fried stuffed or on sandwiches.
Jalapeno (2,500-8,000 Scovilles)
The world’s most common chili pepper, jalapenos are red or green and usually grow to 4-6 inches in length. Known as chipotle peppers when smoked, jalapenos can be used in a diverse array of culinary options.
Hungarian (5,000-15,000 Scovilles)
Hungarian peppers are yellow and usually around 8 inches long, with a waxy and crunchy skin. Tasting great pickled or fresh, Hungarians pack a decent punch but are very edible.
Serrano (5,000-23,000 Scovilles)
A smaller version of jalapeno peppers, serranos tend to be only an inch or two long. Ranging in color from red to brown, orange, or yellow serranos are typically roasted and make delicious sauces and salsas
Long Hot Portugal (5,000-30,000 Scovilles)
Hot Portugal peppers are, as one would expect, originally from Portugal. Six inches long and only ¾ of an inch thick, these hot red peppers make a great addition to many Latin American dishes.
Habanero (80,000-600,000 Scovilles)
Named after the Cuban city of La Habana, or Havana, habaneros are one of the hottest peppers around. Habaneros are small and thick with a rounded lantern shape. They can be yellow, orange or red and have a flavor with a hint of citrus to accompany their serious kick of spice
Always choose peppers with a tight, shiny surface that is free of blemishes, and are heavy for their size. Store them in a ventilated bag in the refrigerator for up to one week. Be sure that there is proper air circulation as they are prone to mold.