Originally Posted by larry_stewart
I was going to start a new thread a few weeks ago on the taste of peppers, but looks like Ill just add to this on. Other than the heat factor and the sweetness and occasional bitterness, does the actual taste of the pepper vary much from variety to variety ? And when it reaches a certain 'hotness'. can that taste difference even be perceived or does the heat element completely take over ?
When eating a pepper, I focus on heat, sweeteness and the thickness/ or meatiness of the pepper. Ive only worked with a half dozen peppers over the years, so I have little experience in many of the varieties.
I've probably grown over 200 varieties of peppers through the years, though this year I only had one new variety, out of 16 varieties. I used to grow around 25 every year, with more new, than old, but eventually, I ended up with 14 or 15 keepers, that I had to have every year! Still, I have to reduce them more, or find more people to help me eat them!
It's amazing how different some peppers can taste! Capsicum anuum
is the species with the most varieties, and has the most non-hot peppers, but there are some with different flavors, as well. Think of how different jalapeño peppers taste, from most peppers. And has anybody ever grown Bulgarian Carrots
? They have a totally unique flavor, and I searched and searched for any other orange variety, and most tasted like any other pepper, some with little flavor (something that occurs in many varieties - all heat, and almost no flavor). I finally found one - source in Australia, on ebay! It's called Hanoi Market
, and it's only 30-40,000 SUs, vs 60k, for Bulgarian Carrots, but the same flavor. These are fresh those orange chiles you see piled in Asian markets, in those shows like Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. They make some of those Asian dip sauces really great, like nuoc cham.
have a totally different flavor from other peppers, though some stronger than others. This species has the hottest peppers in it - the superhots, like the Reaper, Trinidad Scorpion, and ghost peppers - but they don't have as much flavor as the habaneros, that are way down on the list. I only grew them out of curiosity - tried them, then gave the rest to a guy at work! But you can't use enough to give flavor, without getting the dish too hot (even for me!), so why bother? But the hotter habaneros (red savina, chocolate, gold bullet, fatalii) always seemed to have the best flavor - milder varieties seemed lacking in flavor, and more had to be used in a dish, to get the "habanero flavor". However, Aji Dulce is a chinense
variety that has almost no heat - only around 500 SUs - but intense flavor! I like being able to share some of those dishes with people, who never could eat those habaneros, and missed out on some of the best dishes!
is another pepper species with a unique flavor - a sweet, but sort of smoky flavor. Tabasco peppers are in this species, as well as the African Birds Eye. I have tried a few varieties, but they all have very long seasons - one so long that I have to bring it in before it flowered at all. So I don't bother with them.
is another species with a slightly different flavor in many of the varieties. This is the species that most of the S American Aji
peppers belong to, though there are Ajis in other species, as well (such as Aji Dulce). C. pubescens
is another unique species - if you've even gotten black seeded peppers, you've had this! It has slightly different flavor, but I only grew it once - nothing impressed me that much. Amazingly, you can find some of these unusual peppers in supermarkets these days.