Banana pepper rings are as popular as pickled pepperoncini. This Tastessence write-up will tell you the exact difference between banana peppers and pepperoncini. It will help you choose the correct one for your recipe.
Did You Know?
Studies show that the compound capsaicin can bring about the death of prostate cancer cells without damaging normal healthy cells.
These days, several types of peppers are available in the market. Some peppers are fairly sweet, while some are quite hot. It can be really difficult to select one, if you are planning to use it in a particular recipe. Peppers not only differ in size and color but also in taste, texture, and flavor. The ‘hotness’ of a chili pepper is measured in terms of ‘Scoville heat units’ (SHU). It indicates the concentration of the active chemical compound ‘capsaicin’ which produces the heat sensation. Experts say that you can replace pepperoncini with banana peppers. If both are mild, is there a difference in them?
Despite having many things in common, banana peppers and pepperoncini are different in certain aspects. Both these peppers are cultivars of the species “Capsicum annuum”. In America, mild or sweet peppers are called pepperoncini (or peperoncini). The chilis that are sold as ‘pepperoncini’ in the U.S. are called ‘friggitelli’ in Italy.
Banana Peppers Vs. Pepperoncini
Banana peppers are long, cylindrical, and slightly curved. At maturity, they can be about 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) long and yellow. Due to the yellow color and the curve, they look like small bananas.
Pepperoncini are also 2 to 3 inches (5 to 8 cm) long, but are bright green (or slightly yellowish green) when mature. They taper to a blunt-lobed end.
The most ripe banana peppers are sweeter than the younger ones. They change from green to yellow, orange, or red.
Pepperoncini peppers ripen to a deep red color. The matured ones have a stronger flavor.
Walls of banana peppers are relatively thicker than those of the pepperoncini. They can be used for pickling, however, banana pepper rings are more commonly used in stir-fries.
Pepperoncini are thin-walled peppers and hence are commonly used for pickling. They can absorb the surrounding liquid very well.
Banana peppers are mild, sweet, and tangy.
Pepperoncini peppers are sweet and mild, but slightly bitter. Pickled peppers are mild and salty. They give a crunchy texture to the dish.
There exist several cultivars of banana peppers, for example, Bananarama, Cubanelle, Chilly Chili, Early Sweet Banana, Hungarian Yellow Wax, Sweet Banana, Sweet Hungarian, etc.
There exist several cultivars of Pepperoncini peppers. The Golden Greek from Greece is sweeter and less bitter than the Italian Tuscan peppers.
1 Small (4″ long) raw banana pepper (33 g) contains 9 calories
1 serving (4 peppers) of Mt. Olive pepperoncini contains 10 calories
Banana peppers are used in stir-fries, soups, omelets, spaghetti recipes, ice creams, and are also used for garnishing pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. They are eaten raw, baked, fried, stuffed, roasted, steamed, and pickled.
Pepperoncini peppers are used in sandwiches, salads, casseroles, scrambled eggs, etc., served with pizza, appetizers, and Turkish kebabs, and since they are crunchy, they are used to garnish salads. They are eaten dried or pickled.
Banana peppers are often used fresh. If they are pickled, they can be high in sodium. 1 oz of Heinz pickled peppers contain 280 mg sodium.
They are loaded with vitamin C. A 4-inch long banana pepper can fulfill around 45% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C.
They are packed with potassium and vitamin A.
They contain small amounts of other vitamins and minerals too, for example, phosphorous, iron, B vitamins, vitamin E and K, etc.
They are a good source of antioxidants.
Pepperoncini peppers are commonly used pickled, and pickled peppers are high in sodium. 1 serving (4 peppers) of Mt. Olive pepperoncini contains 280 mg sodium.
They are low in fat, protein, and carbs.
They are rich in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
They contain other vitamins and minerals like iron and calcium.
They are rich in antioxidants.
Being low in fat and calories, and rich in vitamins and minerals, banana peppers can be incorporated in weight loss diets. Capsaicin also promotes weight loss. The peppers help improve blood circulation. They help relieve symptoms of sinusitis and pain due to arthritis. The antioxidants help prevent various types of diseases.
Pepperoncini peppers also offer similar health benefits. But as they are often consumed pickled, the high sodium content can affect the function of the heart and kidneys.
Banana peppers can be planted in any USDA growing zone. They would perform best in areas where warm weather lasts longer. A full-grown plant can be 12 to 24 inches tall.
Pepperoncini peppers can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 8 through 10. The plant can be about 30 inches (75 cm) tall. Both these peppers are easy to grow.
Usually, thin-skinned peppers are used for pickling, while thick-skinned peppers are used for stuffing and frying. How the peppers are used depends not only on the heat contained in them but also on how well they retain the skin color and texture after processing.