Sweet and mild or fiery and spicy – a wide range of options
Green chilli peppers are perfect for seasoning or can be eaten alone. They lend a fiery hint to all dishes
Peperoncini is the Swiss name given to the green chilli pepper, a hybrid of the capsicum annuum species. It is part of the same family as both bell peppers and chili peppers and its taste is somewhere in between the two. They are slightly elongated, green, crunchy and mildly spicy. Capsaicin is the component that lends them their spice, which also has antibacterial properties and helps release endorphins. They do not contain as much capsaicin as chillis and so are less spicy.
August to November
|refrigerate in a closed container|
|1 week refrigerated, 10 months frozen|
The green chilli pepper originated in South Central America. It is speculated that birds brought it across to Asia where it is now cultivated. In the 16th century, Turkish invaders brought it to Europe and green chilli peppers are now largely cultivated in the Balkans and the Middle East.
Fresh green chilli peppers can be found in the vegetable section of the supermarket. They are smaller than bell peppers and more elongated, but usually thicker than chillis. Their spice levels may vary – light green usually being the spiciest. Generally, the smaller and drier the pepper, the spicier it is.
Green chilli peppers have very few calories and so they can be enjoyed guilt-free. If they are too spicy for you, slice them open and remove the seeds from the inside, which contain a large part of the capsaicin content. Tolerance for spiciness can be improved by increasing your consumption of spicy food. Note: spice is not a matter of taste, but rather the irritation of the mucosae and therefore, nothing other than pain.
Milk products help to alleviate the pain of too much spice – either by drinking milk or adding milk products directly to the dish. The capsaicin will be dissolved and the pain will soon go away. Make sure to wear gloves when chopping green chilli peppers to avoid touching your eyes or skin later and causing irritation.
Green chilli peppers are well suited to lots of dishes. They can be ground and used to make a type of paprika spice which goes well in goulash, salads or as a pizza topping. When ground, they can also be used as a base for sauces. If you purchased too many green chilli peppers, there are many ways to preserve them. Place a few into a sealable container with some oil, and they’ll keep for a few months but lose some of their firmness. Or you can place them in a freezer bag and keep them for up to a month without losing any spice or firmness. To make a green chilli pepper infused oil, cut the peppers up into small pieces, place them in oil for three days, then add some garlic cloves and keep the oil in the refrigerator. This can be used as seasoning with things like pizza.
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