Guide to Summer Peppers


Peppers are in full swing at the Farmers Market right now and there are a lot of varieties to choose from. Peppers are a pretty amazing little fruit. Whether you get a hot pepper, sweet pepper, or bell pepper these little babies pack a lot of flavor. And if you choose the wrong one, your whole dish could be ruined.

So, let’s take a closer look at the different varieties:

Bell Peppers – You might be familiar with the green bell peppers, but did you know they come in orange, red, yellow, purple, white and even rainbow? These sweet peppers (green being the least sweet) can be prepared just about any way – raw, grilled, baked, or sauteed.

Banana Peppers – Generally speaking this pepper has a very mild heat and flavor making it perfect for sandwiches and pickling. However, there are hot banana pepper varieties which carry both more heat and sweet flavor.

Poblano – This is a mild pepper, and the heat is found in the seeds. Many times you see this pepper prepared by frying or stuffing or added to sauces.

Jalapeno – This pepper is spicier with a nice tangy burning heat. It is commonly added to guacamoles, salsas, or sauteed and topped with cheese.


Serrano – These guys pack some heat and are a smaller and longer version of the Jalapeno. They come in green, orange, yellow and brown and are typically eaten raw.


Scotch Bonnet – This is one of the hottest peppers out there. Not for the faint of heart. Used in Caribbean dishes such as jerk chicken.


Habanero – This is said to be 1,000 times hotter than the Jalapeno and typically only used for creating hot sauces. This is the pepper where if the oil gets on your skin, it really burns – so be careful!

Depending on your dish, make sure to follow your recipe exactly, as it should indicate which variety of pepper to use. Depending on your farmer, they may grow several other peppers that include the wide array of heirloom peppers. They really are beautiful and delicious and when used right will elevate your dish to a whole new level.

My favorite heirloom variety is the Hot Lemon Pepper. It has a strong kick (but not as strong as a Habanero), with a subtle sweet lemon and pine woods smell. It is great for dried spices and powders.

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5 Responses to “Guide to Summer Peppers”

  1. Dawn Whitaker August 22, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    I just found your site, and I love it! I am a newcomer to the local eating thing and have just recently started making produce purchases from local farmers. Most recently I got some awesome peppers (along with a few other items) from Green Door Gourmet, and I had no idea what they were. This post helped figure out my purchase and what to do with it! So I just want to say thanks !

    • Mary Crimmins August 22, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

      Oh awesome! I love Green Door Gourmet. Glad I could help, and so glad you are on a journey to eating locally! Kudos to you!

  2. Lauren August 30, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    Thanks for the pictures and names of the peppers. It helped me identify some peppers I planted where the tags had blown away.


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