Some people go nuts over hot peppers, and it is easy to see why. There are so many varieties, and every year it seems someone comes out with the newest and hottest pepper available. Personally, we never made it past habañero for a pepper with great heat. If that sounds like you, and you are looking for more than heat in a pepper, then choosing for flavor may be just the ticket.
Here are a few of our favorites: Lemon Drop, pictured, produces 2-3 inch bright yellow fruits with a slight lemon taste. These are really good with fish or chicken and are great in salsa. These are very pretty in an ornamental garden.
Tabasco, as the name implies, is the perfect pepper for making homemade hot sauce. Another attractive plant, the fruit grows upward rather than hanging down. The fruit of the tabasco pepper ranges in color from green, yellow, orange and red.
Cayenne peppers are the ones that give the spice, cayenne, its name. There are a few varieties available. We have had good luck with one called Long Thin. To dry cayenne peppers after harvesting, use a needle and thread to string them together. Hang the peppers to ripen and dry. Once they are ripe, the peppers can be ground in a coffee grinder.
Finally, a new variety we are growing this year is Big Thai Hybrid. We’re expecting 5 inch fruits that are mildly hot and perfect for stir fry and other Asian dishes. We are planning on roasting these outside on the grill.
Gardening Jones is a Pennsylvania-based vegetable gardener. Read her other Horticulture posts here and learn more at gardeningjones.com.