Named for a city in California, the Anaheim pepper registers 500-2,500 Scoville Heat Units, making it mildly hot. It has a rich peppery taste and crisp crunch.
Read on to find out more about this seemingly underrated pepper, how to use it in recipes, and how to grow your own.
Characteristics of the Anaheim Pepper
The Anaheim is a medium-sized conical, slightly curved pepper. It measures 5-8 inches long and has shiny skin with a thick meaty wall.
This pepper starts out green and changes to red the longer it stays on the vine. Pick your Anaheim pepper when it is green for a sweeter and milder taste. If you want a hotter pepper, wait until it turns red.
Anaheim peppers have a sweet, smoky, kind of fruity taste. When picked while light green, they have a sweeter taste, like a bell pepper. If you wait until your peppers turn red, the heat will be more like a milder jalapeno.
Even if you wait to eat your Anaheim pepper when it is red and hotter, the heat won’t last for long. That makes this pepper enjoyable for just about everyone.
The Anaheim pepper is a great source of vitamins, iron, and potassium. In fact, 1 cup of chopped Anaheim pepper will give you 219% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C and 111% of vitamin A.
Growing Your Own
The best way to enjoy an Anaheim pepper is by picking it right out of your own garden.
Anaheim peppers can be grown in zones 5-12. Seeds should be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Using this Premium Seed Starting Kit will help give your seeds a good start.
When the soil is finally warm enough and all threat of frost has passed, it’s time to move your peppers outside. To help reduce shock, choose a cloudy day to transplant your baby pepper plants.
Anaheim peppers prefer a sunny spot with good soil drainage. Make sure your plants have plenty of room. They’ll need to be planted 18″ apart, with 36″ between the rows.
Now that you have your spot picked out and the soil has been tilled, it’s time to plant. Gently remove your plant from the starting kit cell and plant it no deeper than the cell is tall. After all your plants are in the ground, give them a good drink of water.
Anaheim peppers, like most peppers, are easy to grow and require little attention. They are susceptible to blossom end rot, which is caused by a calcium deficiency. One way to combat this is with consistent watering. Plants generally need 1″ of water per square foot per week. Using mulch helps maintain soil moisture.
Sometimes no matter what you try, the blossom end rot, or black spots, will still appear on your peppers. If this happens, prune any extra foliage from your plant so that the calcium your plant is taking in isn’t being wasted on leaves rather than your peppers. You can also add eggshells to the soil around your plants.
Don’t throw away the peppers that have already developed blossom end rot. Instead, simply cut off the bad part and use the peppers as usual.
Proper staking is also important to growing healthy Anaheim peppers. Because pepper plants produce so much fruit, they tend to get heavy while growing. For that reason, the Florida Weave trellis is recommended to help keep your plant off the ground and help prevent blossom end rot.
T-posts are a great option to use for your trellis because of their durability. You’ll also be able to use the knobs on the posts to help hold your twine.
Start by placing a t-post between every other plant. Using jute, or another heavy twine, start at one end of your row and weave the jute back and forth around the plants until you reach the next post. Wrap the jute around the post a few times, and go back around the plants in the opposite direction.
The idea is to sandwich the plants between the jute weave, making sure you don’t pull it too tight and damage the plants.
Continue this process until you reach the end of your row. Repeat this process, moving up the t-post, every couple of weeks as your plant grows.
As with all plants in your garden, be sure to keep weeds at bay by mulching, hoeing, and pulling.
Your Anaheim peppers will be ready to harvest in about 60 days. As stated above, you can choose the heat of your peppers. For a milder, sweeter pepper, pick them when they’re light green. Wait until the pepper turns red for a hotter flavor.
Each Anaheim pepper plant can produce 20-40 peppers. Once they’re ready to be picked, be sure to harvest often, so you don’t get overwhelmed!
How to Enjoy Anaheim Peppers
You started your Anaheim pepper seeds indoors, gently transplanted them outside, and patiently watched them grow all summer long. Now it’s time to enjoy them!
Anaheim peppers can be thrown on the grill and roasted, fried, stuffed like bell peppers, eaten raw, and even added to salads for just enough sweet heat.
Need some recipe ideas for your Anaheim peppers? Try using them in this Chicken Stuffed Peppers recipe that’s drizzled with bittersweet chocolate!
You can also substitute Anaheim peppers for other varieties of peppers, like the poblanos in these Salmon Tacos with mango salsa.
If your garden produced an abundance of peppers, try canning them using this Pepper Jelly Recipe from Ball Mason jars.
Where to Buy Anaheim Pepper Seeds
Anaheim peppers can be found in most grocery stores and at farmer’s markets or produce stands. In some areas, they may be referred to as California peppers or New Mexico peppers.
For the best harvest, always start with premium Anaheim Pepper seeds.
Wrapping Up the Anaheim Pepper: Taste Without Heat
If you love the taste of peppers, but don’t love the heat, next time, reach for an Anaheim pepper. These colorful pops of flavor are sure to brighten your table and your palette!
To learn more about other varieties of peppers, check out our Pepper Page.