Have you ever needed a pop of spice on your favorite sandwich or in your favorite dish? The Pepperoncini Pepper just might be what you’ve been searching for! Continue reading to learn more about this sweet, mild, usually pickled pepper.
Pepperoncini peppers with thin, wrinkly skin are usually 2-3 inches long. Pronounced peh·pr·uhn·chee·nee, when pickled, this delicious pepper is often confused with a banana pepper.
One way to distinguish them is that a banana pepper has a pointy end like a banana, whereas a pepperoncini pepper has a more rounded end.
What makes Pepperoncini stand out
Most of the time, pepperoncini peppers are sold as yellow pickled peppers. But when left on the plant long enough, they’ll turn bright red and grow stronger in flavor.
Pepperoncini is the plural form of the Italian word “pepperoncini”, which refers to the hotter varieties of peppers. Interestingly enough, pepperoncini peppers rank in the second lowest category on the Scoville scale.
The Scoville scale measures the pungency of heat in peppers or anything derived from chili pepper. Originally developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912, the score is figured by the number of times capsaicin (a compound found in peppers responsible for their burn & irritant effect) must be diluted by sugar water.
The scale measures from zero to 16 million; pepperoncini’s median score is 300 on the Scoville scale.
History of the Pepperoncini Pepper
Pepperoncini originates in Europe, specifically Italy and Greece. Most commonly known as Pepperoncini, this delicious pepper has many other nicknames, including friggitello, pepperone, or Tuscan pepper.
Because Pepperoncini peppers aren’t spicy, they are used in moderation in dishes to help enhance flavor. The oldest recipe that has been found to include Pepperoncini peppers is by Italian Chef Antonio Latini and dates back to 1694! This pepper has been loved for many years!
Grow or Buy?
Pickled Pepperoncini peppers are easily found at most grocery stores. If you want to taste this crunchy pepper fresh, you may consider growing it.
If you decide to grow, be sure to grab your seeds from Hoss Tools.
Best grow zone & soil
Best grown in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zones 8-10, Pepperoncini, like most other peppers, need 70-80 degree soil to sprout and require little care once the seedling has been planted outside. You’ll be reaping your harvest in a mere 70 days with a proper water and fertilizer schedule!
For in-depth information on growing peppers, check out our post, How to Plant Peppers.
Health Benefits of Peppers
Peppers are low in calories. A 30g serving just barely contains eight calories! They are also low in carbohydrates which makes them an excellent choice if you’re trying to cut carbs from your diet.
In addition to being rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber – their health benefits can be boosted by fermentation to increase probiotics.
Fresh, Fermented, or Pickled
If you opted to grow Pepperoncini peppers, you have decisions to make when it comes time to harvest! Oftentimes, pepper plants produce more peppers than we can eat fresh before the peppers begin to go bad.
To reduce waste, it’s important to know your preservation options and the health benefits of each one.
Many consider peppers a superfood. Because they are rich in iron and other vitamins and minerals, eating them fresh aid in adding an extra crunch and health boost to your salads.
If they are too spicy for you when eaten raw, consider removing the seeds, spine, and pith before you consume, as these parts often contain concentrated capsaicin.
Fermentation is an ancient, proven way to preserve many types of food. Not only is it helpful in making sure that our hard work in the garden doesn’t go to waste, but it also offers many health benefits.
To name a few, fermented vegetables are easier for our bodies to digest, contain higher levels of nutrients, & often fermentation enhances the flavor of the pepper and helps reduce the heat.
Once fermented, vegetables have a sour taste due to the chemical reaction between naturally present sugars and bacteria.
Unlike fermented peppers, pickled peppers are given their sour flavor from being soaked in an acidic brine – usually vinegar based.
Not only are pickled peppers a great-tasting, crunchy snack that can help satisfy a craving for chips or other not-so-healthy snacks, but they are also packed with vitamin C. A 1/4 cup of pickled peppers fulfills 25% of your recommended daily intake!
If you’re considering trying the pickling option, check out this easy recipe for Quick Refrigerator Pickled Pepperoncini Peppers.
Cooking with the Pepperoncini Pepper
No matter how you decide to get your hands on Pepperoncini peppers, try your hand at cooking with them. They are so versatile, and as Chef Latini found way back in the late 1600s, they add so much flavor to the dish!
Chances are you have the ingredients for this fun Stuffed Pepperoncini appetizer in your fridge. How can you go wrong with a Pepperoncini pepper stuffed with cream cheese and bacon?
Mississippi Pot Roast
Add a crunchy twist and a pop of color in the form of a delicious pepper to an already favorite comfort food dish – Mississippi Pot Roast!
Give Pepperoncini a Try!
Now that you know that Pepperoncini peppers have been loved for many years, are a great way to add extra nutrients to your diet, and are versatile in preserving and cooking, don’t forget to add this delicious pepper to your grocery or grow list!
If you enjoyed learning about this pepper, be sure to check out the Pepper page on our website to see what other varieties of peppers you can add to your list!