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Pepper, Capsicum annuum / Solanaceae
Pepper
Peppers are classified in types according to their size, sweetness and bitterness. Almost all the varieties cultivated in Europe belong to the species Capsicum annuum. Other species, most of them hot peppers, such as the famous Jalapeños Chili peppers, etc. are mainly cultivated in America.

There are different species that defer from one another mainly in the number and colour of the flowers of each inflorescence, shape and type of fruit, length of the vegetative cycle, etc.; although there are others and multiple types of pepper, both sweet as hot.

We make the distinction of varieties in large fruit, smaller fruit and very narrow and lengthy fruit:

- Large fruit: Infantes, with fruits weighing more than 250g, "Grande de Plaza’ or "Morrón de Plaza’ with heart shape, "Morro de Vaca’ very extended in Spain and also known as "Morrón Dulce’ or "De Fresno’, "Largo de Reus" in the Mediterranean coast, known in France as " Dulce de España’, "Najerano’ only in La Rioja, "Amarillo de Mallorca’ with matured thick yellow fruit.

- Smaller fruits: "Cistal" and "Marconi’ (typical from the País Vasco to Gernika) used to fry when green, pepper "De Padrón" , and " De Arnoia’ (typical from Galicia) used in the Galician ‘empanada’ (a kind of pasty).

- Very narrow and lengthy fruit: ‘Guindilla Amarilla’ from Ibarra, "Guindilla de San Sebastián", etc. that are eaten both fresh as pickled; other varieties of hot peppers are used to preserve and some ivory-coloured varieties for pickling in brine.

Peppers can also be classified according to their sweet or hot taste:

- Sweet: They are eaten raw, intact or chopped for salads or cooking, when they are green or purple, or already mature. The most known varieties are for example the Valencian Pepper, Morrón, Hocico o Bonete, Temprano de Valencia, Cuadrado de America, Del Pico, De Cristal, Amarillo y Verde de Mallorca, Najerano, Largo de Reus or Grande de Torroella, Morro de Vaca and Cornicabra, among others.

- Hot: They contain an alkaloid causing the bitter or hot taste, and it is called capsaicin. They are consumed raw or pickled and as garnish, the paprika. The mostly known varieties are for instance the type guindilla (hot pepper), the Cornezuelo pepper, Cerecilla or Indias, Rojo de Cayena, Picante Amarillo, Rojo Largo, De Padrón, Ñora, etc.

Along with Spain, Italy is also an important country of fresh peppers production. In Italy, the type " Lamuyo largo’ is cultivated in greenhouses in Sicily (harvests between March and July) and to the south of Rome and in the Tirrenean Sea they also produce the type " Italiano’ and "California amarillo (June-September).

In Asia, Turkey is the country that produces more peppers after China; it has two great producing areas, both in the peninsule of Anatolia and the Mediterranean Sea. In Antalya, the varieties cultivated in greenhouses are Turkish types, of yellowish green colour (October-March). In Izmir, zone next to Istambul those of Italian type are cultivated (June-September).

In North America, by its geographic amplitude, the pepper production extends during good part of the year. To that supply the import of red square pepper of Holland is added (April and October). Also there is certain production under conservatory in the U.S.A. and Mexico, but still enough it is reduced. In the U.S.A. the main cultivated types of pepper are Bell or Californian Wonder, Pimiento or Morrón de Conserva , Roumanian Sweet, Anaheim, Wide , Caloro, Jalapeño , Cayena , Sweet Cherry, Serrano and Tabasco in greater proportion. In Mexico the main types of peppers or " chillies" are Jalapeño , Serrano , Ancho , Mulato, Pasilla , Bravo, Piquín , Chiltepín, Various (dry), Habanero , Manzano , Bell and others.

Descriptions of pepper types

Capsicum annuum
Almost all the types cultivated in Europe belong to this species. Some varieties of this species can be distinguished; they bear different types of pepper for consumption, hot and sweet. Besides, there are two varieties, C. annuum var cerasiforme. and C. annuum var. fasciculatum, whose fruits are of small size and used in gardening.

Capsicum annuum var. grossum
Large pepper, red or green, with different tone according to the species, globose-oval shape, more or less long and sometimes exceeding 12cm. They tend to be lobulose in the end opposite to the peduncle.

Morrón for tinned peppers
Dark red colour peppers, smooth skin, very fleshy and sweet taste, with heart shape, same diameter and length, between 6 and 8cm. They are used for tinning and they can belong to different varieties according to their earliness (Arca, Creba, Traba and Daniel are early varieties; Cinca is semiprecocious and Rush is the most late variety).

Morrón dulce or " Morro de Vaca’
Even surface, with four pronounced lobes in the end, thick meat of sweet taste. It is larger than wider, between 10 and 13cm.

Grande de Plaza
Large pepper (12-14cm long and 10-12cm wide), very thick wall, up to 10mm. Smooth surface, wrinkled in the tips and ending in a wide point. Sweet and suitable taste to be roasted.

Ñora
Almost spherical fruit, red, fleshy and hard, slightly hot and preserved dry. They are used for processing paprika and sauces.

Najerano
Mean size fruit, conical-pointed shape and slightly curved. Dark green before it ripes, smooth walls of average thickness and sweet taste.

Largo de Reus
Lengthy shape ending in three lobes, 15-18cm long and 6-10cm of base width. Irregular and winding surface. Thick walls up to 6mm wide and sweet taste. It is consumed both green and mature.

Amarillo de Mallorca
Elongated pepper, pointed, characterized by its yellow colour throughout the culture cycle. Smooth surface, 16-18cm long and 6-8cm wide.

Verde de Mallorca
It has the same characteristics as the type Amarillo de Mallorca , although it is longer and green before maturity.

Dulce Italiano
Elongated and not very thick pepper. Thin flesh, 3mm of thickness and sweet taste, although sometimes a bit hot.

Marconi
Smaller size fruit, paler green and more flattened than the type Dulce Italiano. There are two subvarieties, red peppers and yellow peppers.

California
Short, wide fruits, with three or four well-marked carpels, square section, more or less thick meat (3-7mm). The colour ranges from red to yellow, green, orange and even black. There exist three sub-groups according to the size, more or less depressed apex...: the Dutch California pepper, the American California and the Italian California type.

California Wonder
Cylindrical, short fruit, semithick walls and sweet taste. It comes from North America.

Del Pico or "pimiento del Piquillo’
Lengthy, conical, narrow pepper with very thin walls and sweet taste.

De Crystal
Red, elongated, medium size fruit and with an acute or truncated apex. Winding surface and slightly grrovy. Sweet taste.

Lamuyo
Long and square fruit with thick flesh. They can be dark green, red or yellow. Hybrid of French origin.

Capsicum annuum to var. Longum
These peppers are two times longer than wide, prismatic shape, nonlobulose apex, fleshy and sweet.

Cornicabra
Red, long and scarcely thick pepper, twisted, rough surface, thin flesh and sweet taste.

Capsicum annuum to var. Acuminatum
Long and acute fruit; the length is ten its width.

Long red pepper or " guindilla’ (hot pepper)
Hot pepper, pointed end, 12-15cm long and 3cm wide.

Red pepper from Cayena
Hot, cylindrical-conical pepper, with the tip folded in a twirl and 8 to 12cm long.

De Padrón
Slightly hot, small pepper, very thin meat and low weight. It is used in pickles.

Capsicum annuum to var. Annuum
Firm flesh fruit and soft in some cultivars, with yellowish colour seeds.

Jalapeño Chilli
They are fleshy and hot fruits. They are harvested unripe, green coloured if they are intended for the industry and red they are dried and smoked, the so-known ‘chipotle’. There exist several subtypes according to the characteristics of the plant and the fruit. ‘Típico’, whose fruits are conical, tasteful and consistent. Corky surface that prvents the skin to come off in the pickling process; " Peludo’ is a little longer and narrow, the surface is less rough, reason why it is mainly intended for fresh consumption; " Espinalteco or Pinalteco’, pointed fruit, slightly longer and narrower than the previous type and scarcely corky. " Morita or Bolita’ is a round fruit, almost without any roughness and the less appreciated in marketing.

In the U.S.A. there have been cultivated improved varieties such as Jalapeño M. Americano, a lengthy fruit, and Early Jalapeño, which is a conical fruit. Their skin is hardly corky. There are also varieties of sweet Jalapeño like TAM Mild Jalapeño-1 which have not been successful.

Serrano or Green Chilli
It is usually consumed fresh. Lengthy fruit, very hot, green when unripe and red, brown, orange or yellow when it matures. According to size and shape there are three classes: Balín, Típica and Largo.

Ancho Chilli
Conical or heart-shaped peppers, thin and moderately hot. When unripe, they are yellow or green and when they mature they turn into red. From this type they obtain paprika andculinary colouring. There exist subtypes like Ancho or Poblano, that are consumed green and red, dehydrated; the Mulato or De Color chilli is dark brown when it matures, less hot than the previous one and it is also used dehydrated; Miahueteco are narrow and longer fruits, very hot and for fresh consumption (green, red or brown); Cristalino de Chorro are large fruits, with thin, very hot flesh, yellowish green; El Ramos, large and very hot fruits; Negro and Criollo Dulce peppers are not hot.

Pasilla Chilli
When they are consumed fresh they are known as Chilaca. Lengthy fruit, dark brown when ripe. The largest production is intended for dehydration.

Capsicum annuum var. Aviculare
It is a wild sub-species from Colombia to the south of the U.S.A.

Piquín Chilli
It is also known as ‘Chile de Monte’ or ‘Chiltepín’, although this name is given to the extremely long peppers. They are very hot. They are consumed green, pickled and dried.

Capsicum fructescens
It is cultivated in South America and Central America, Mexico and the Antilles, in the USA, where it is used to prepare ‘Tabasco sauce’; in India, Java and the Malay Archipielago it is used to prepare the ‘cary, carry o curry’ sauce. It is also known as Cayena or Caribean pepper, ‘ají’ or Pepper from the Indies.

They are small, lengthy, 1 to 3cm long and 4 to 6mm base width. They are red, with small, pale, round seeds. They are very hot.

Capsicum pubescens
Cultivated in South America. Small, hot fruit with red seeds.

Manzano Chilli
Also called ‘Perón’ and ‘Ciruelo’. They are cultivated in South America, Central America and Mexico. They are round, fleshy fruits, pale green before maturation and yellow or red afterwards. They are consumed fresh and they are extremely hot.

Capsicum pendulum
They are cultivated in Peru, Bolivia and Brasil. They are small and hot fruits, known as ‘chilli’.

Capsicum sirvensis
They are mainly cultivated in Africa and Asia. They are small and hot peppers. They are used to prepare all kinds of sauces.

Capsicum chinense
They are found in wild conditions in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru and they are cultivated from the south of Bolivia to the south of Brazil, Beliza, Costa Rica, Mexico, Nicaragua and the West Indies. They have a firm flesh and yellowish seeds.

Habanero Chilli
Round fruit, 2 to 6cm long and 2 to 4cm wide. Extremely hot. When they ripe, they range from green to ivory, yellow, orange or red. They are mainly consumed fresh.
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