Hot Pepper Recipe
Photo Credit banana peppers image by cherie from Fotolia.com"Superfoods Rx" author Steven Pratt recommends peppers as a food that is as unusually good for you as fast food hamburgers are unusually bad. "Good Eats" host Alton Brown recommends the sweet and spicy banana pepper for dishes ranging from stir fry to ice cream. Regardless of what you do with your banana peppers, conscious eating requires knowing just what's going on inside these colorful veggies.
Serving and Calorie Information
One banana pepper, approximately 4 inches long, brings 9 calories to the table. Only one of these calories comes from fat, reports nutrition resource website The Calorie Counter. According to Brown, typical recipes will call for anywhere between half a pepper to two or three.
A typical serving of banana pepper carries one-tenth of one gram of fat, which is relatively low, compared with other foods. The fat in banana peppers is polyunsaturated fat, the healthy fat that contributes to production of heart-friendly HDL cholesterol.
Only 1.8 g of a 30-g banana pepper consist of carbohydrates. That carbohydrate load consists of 1.1 grams of dietary fiber, known to contribute to circulatory and digestive health. Peppers in general are sweeter than many other veggies, and banana peppers are sweeter than many other peppers. Of the remaining carbs, 0.6 g are from simple sugars.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Like most peppers, banana peppers are high in vitamin C. One serving provides 45 percent of the recommended daily allowance. It also delivers 2 percent of your vitamin A, 1 percent of your iron and half a gram of protein. Banana peppers are low in sodium, carrying only 4.3 milligrams per serving. They deliver 2 percent of the recommended allowance of potassium.
Pratt's research suggests that banana peppers contain micronutrients, especially carotenoids, that contribute to overall health. Specific effects of carotenoids include decreased risk of cancer and reduced rates of heart disease. They contain the same micronutrient found in carrots, and they also contribute to eye health.
Scoville Heat Units
The Scoville heat scale measures how spicy a food is by rating the capsaicin content, giving each food a rating from zero, not spicy at all, to a maximum of 16 million. Law enforcement pepper spray ranges in the 500,000 to 2 million range on the Scoville scale. Banana peppers rate a Scoville range of 100 to 500, spicier than bell peppers and less spicy than Anaheim green chiles
Pepper Profile: Wax Peppers
Background and History
The Hungarian Wax Pepper, a pod type of Capsicum annuum, is also known as the Yellow Wax Pepper, the Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper and the Hungarian Wax Chile Pepper. These peppers are often confused with the milder banana pepper or guero. It was sometime between 1538 and 1548 when Hungarians first began to use hot peppers in their cooking. The Hungarian Wax varieties were developed from the milder Hungarian Banana pepper. The Wax pepper was introduced into the United States and Canada from Hungary in 1932. It is presently grown all over North America and grows well in cool climates.
One of the first pungent varieties was 'Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot', which became a popular garden and pickling chile. Another variety, which was first used exclusively as an ornamental, is 'Floral Gem', with its beautiful orange-red pods. This variety is commercially pickled in the yellow stage as "Torrido" peppers. In 1966, Dr. Paul Smith of the University of California-Davis crossed Floral Gem with the Fresno variety of New Mexican chile, and then crossed that hybrid with 'Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot' to produce the 'Caloro' variety, which was soon refined to become 'Santa Fe Grande'. The most pungent variety of the Wax type is 'Gold Spike'.
Long and tapering, the Hungarian Wax Pepper is a creamy yellow color with a waxy translucent finish. It has a thin skin and a thick flesh. It matures to a striking red-orange to red color. The pods can grow to 5 to 8 inches. This pod type probably has the widest heat range of any chile. It requires a taste test in order to judge its piquancy as it can vary from warm to moderately hot. Fully ripe, the Scoville Heat Units can vary from 100 to 15,000. The Wax type varies in size, appearance, and pungency. The 'Santa Fe Grande' variety has multiple stems and a compact habit, growing 30 inches high or more. The leaves are ovate, smooth, medium green in color and measure 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. The flower corollas are white with no spots. The pods are borne erect to pendant (depending on size), are conical but tapering, and bluntly pointed at the end. They begin as yellow and mature to orange and then red, and measure 3 1/2 to 5 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. The growing period is 70 or more days, and the yield is 25 or more pods to the plant.
Botany and Gardening
The wax pepper is considered a self-pollinating plant. Although it is grown as an annual crop (due to its sensitivity to frost), it is actually an herbaceous perennial. The ideal temperatures for pepper growth range from 75 to 89 degrees F. during the day and 65-75 degrees F at night. Hungarian Wax Peppers are harvested at two different stages of maturity. Half of the crop is picked as they ripen from a lime green to a yellow green color. At this stage they have very little heat. The remaining fruits are left until they become a red-orange color with a natural almost beeswax sheen (for this reason the name 'wax pepper'). The fresh flavor remains intact while the fruit's maturity has pushed it up the heat scale. Days to maturity from planted seedlings: 59 days for green/yellow and 84 days for red. To harvest, clip the pepper stem, leaving at least an inch with the pepper if you intend on drying them.