Pepper Growing: A Guide to the Different Varieties. There’s nothing quite like picking your own peppers fresh from the garden. When growing peppers, it’s a good idea to plant several varieties to ensure you have lots of options for cooking with. Here are a few choices to consider for your own home garden.
Very Hot Peppers
Habanero-Habanero peppers somewhat resemble a persimmon fruit, and are medium orange in color. These two-inch peppers pack lots of heat, and are therefore ideal for making hot sauce or jerk chicken.
Cayenne-Cayenne peppers are bright red in color and shaped something like a green bean. Although they are often pulverized into powder, they may also be added to stew, chili, or other dishes.
Aji Rojo-This pepper is bright red or orange and shaped similar to a jalapeño. Diced ali rojo peppers are often combined with cream cheese to reduce some of the heat; however, those who like a little more spice may want to add them to potatoes, rice, or chicken.
Medium Hot Peppers
These peppers are perfect if you desire only a little spice:
Shishito-This Japanese pepper has a long, thick stem, but otherwise looks like a slightly warped banana pepper. It can be deep fried, used in stir fry recipes, or eaten whole.
Serrano-A Mexican pepper, a serrano is dark green in color, around two inches long, and slightly rounded. This is a perfect pepper for making salsa or for pickling.
Poblano-At four to five inches long, this is one of the largest hot peppers out there. Pablanos may be dried to use in recipes, or stuffed to make a special dish known as chiles rellanos.
Not all peppers need to be spicy in order to add flavor. Include these delicious sweet peppers in your garden to ensure you have a nice variety:
Bell Peppers-The most common form of sweet pepper, this variety is between three and six inches long, round in shape, and contains multiple curves on the bottom. Bells peppers can be roasted and placed on top of a main dish, or eaten raw in salads.
Pimento Peppers-Similar to bell peppers, these are bright red or orange in color and often used to stuff green olives. These peppers are most often roasted or eaten raw with dip.
These are just a few of the varieties available, as there are actually hundreds to choose from. Growing new types of peppers can be fun, and will give you an excuse to experiment with new dishes.