Hungarian Pepper varieties range in flavour from sweet to hot and in Hungary are called white peppers. Americans, on the other hand, often call Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers (capsicum annuum) banana peppers because of their long narrow shape and yellow colour. Hungarian Peppers can be used fresh, cooked, pickled or dried.
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Hungarian Peppers are started indoors from seeds eight weeks before they are ready to plant outdoors. Plant pepper plants in full sun in well-drained soil that is high in phosphorus and calcium. Space plants 16 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Plants will grow 18 to 24 inches tall. Do not grow sweet and hot varieties near each other as they may cross pollinate, and the sweet peppers turn hot.
Varieties of Hungarian Peppers include Hungarian Hot Wax and Inferno F 1 Hybrid. Inferno has a mid-heat level of 3, a heavy yield and is ready to pick in 60 days. Sweet varieties include Super Sweet Banana, a prolific variety that is ready to pick earlier than the hybrid varieties on the market today. Other sweet varieties include Hungarian Yellow Stuffing or Super Stuff for sweet flavour.
Harvest Hungarian Peppers yellow after 58 days of transplanting. The fruits will be 8 inches or longer in length. The fruits begin as pale yellow, turning to a blush and finishing up red in colour. The peppers can be harvested at the early yellow stage when fruits reach the desired length. The sweetest and hottest flavour is obtained from allowing the fruits to turn red before harvesting about 83 days. Begin to harvest peppers as early as possible to encourage the plant to continue to set fruit. Pick the peppers from the plant by carefully twisting the pepper from the plant by its stem. Hungarian peppers will continue to produce in Northern climates until frost.
Hungarian peppers can be used fresh in salads; stuffed and fried or baked; turned into pickles; or dried. Wear rubber gloves, and clean under running water when working with Hungarian Hot Peppers; getting the capsicum oil on skin or eyes can be painful. The seeds contain the heat, so if less heat is desired, remove the seeds before using. Hungarians traditionally grind sweet or hot peppers to make a seasoning called ground pepper flesh. Begin by removing the seeds and stems from the peppers. Grind the peppers through a grinder, and mix with 20 per cent pickling salt to make a paste. Use to season soups and stews.
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