Different Types of Peppers to Season Your Dish

Tastessence Staff Oct 6, 2018
Peppers have been in use since 7500 BCE, and even nowadays, it is an important part of our diet. Have a look at the different types of peppers available and widely used for culinary purposes.
Pepper belongs to the nightshade family Solanaceae, and is a fruit of the genus Capsicum. Christopher Columbus named them so, because he found their taste similar to the Old World black peppers. Columbus's voyage spread the plantations all over Spain and America as well, from where every explorer carried it with them to different shores of the world.
It is harvested as a vegetable as well as a source of spice. It has many nutritional values, containing many essential vitamins and other nutrients.Here, you will learn about the different types of peppers.

The Different Varieties

The categorization can be done as sweet, mildly hot, and hot. To scale their spiciness, in 1912, Wilbur Scoville, an American chemist invented the Scoville Heat Index(SHI), that ranks them in the order from the mildest to the hottest. The index starts from a zero range and goes over 1,000,000, to indicate the level of spice.

Sweet

Bell : They are very mild in taste and flavor, and are marked on the Scoville heat index as a zero. They come in different colors of red, yellow, and orange. They are usually eaten as salads, and are the favored ones for children's meals.
Pimento : Also known as cherry peppers, they are used for their mildness. They score about a 500 on SHI.
They are red in color and heart-shaped, measuring about 7 to 10 cm long and 5 to 7 cm wide. The flesh is succulent and sweet, and aromatic. The flesh is used as a filling inside olives.

Mildly Hot

Jalapeño : This is most common in America. They are red or green in color, and usually two to three inches long. They have just the right amount of spice, and are mostly used as an appetizer, which is deep-fried with cheese stuffing.
On the Scoville heat index, they score around 5,000, but can vary anywhere between 2,000 to 8,000, depending upon the places and strain from which it has been cultivated.
Anaheim : This is mostly grown in California and New Mexico. The Mexican variety is slightly hotter than its Californian cousin. They are long and thin, and about 6 and 10 inches in length and 1 to 2 inches wide, and green or maroon in color.
They score about 5,000 on the Scoville heat index, but some varieties score less than a thousand. Besides culinary use, they are used as a decorative object, as they are stringed together as wall hangings during important festivals and occasions.

Hot

Habanero Chili : The Habanero chili is one the hottest chili used in food preparation. On Scoville heat index, it can range anywhere between 150,000 to 350,000.
They come in a variety of colors, such as green, yellow, pink, or red, and are only three centimeters long. However, let the size not fool you, they are the hottest, and are meant only for those with very strong stomachs.
Serrano : They look very similar to the jalapeño, but that is where the similarity ends. They are quite spicy with a range of 10,000 and 25,000 on the Scoville heat index. They are mostly two inches long and green in color.
Cayenne : They are red in color, and are mostly preferred in dried, coarse, powder form. These are the ones that are sprinkled over pizza and other salty food items. They score between 25,000 and 50,000 on the Scoville heat index.
They are used to add heat and a dash of color to the food. Due to their health benefits, they are widely used as a vital ingredient for natural medicines.
Tabasco : They are used to make the Tabasco sauce really hot. They are just two inches in length and found in different colors of green, red, yellow, and orange. They have a range of between 30,000 and 60,000 on the Scoville heat index. They are used to spice up curries, gravies, and sauces.
Peppers are a great way to spice up your meals. It is best to understand the level of spiciness, to know which type would enhance the flavor of the food. Not only can you control the level of spice by your using from the variety, you can add lots of color to the food as well!