Banana peppers are an interesting variety of pepper that not many people have heard of. Their name comes from their banana-like appearance – they are bright yellow in color and have the same curved, long shape.
They typically measure around 2-3 inches long and have a proportional width. But are they as cool as they seem? Here, we talk you through everything there is to know about these peppers, so you can decide for yourself.
What Do Banana Peppers Taste Like?
You may be wondering if banana peppers are basically just small bananas – they look like them, so perhaps they taste like them too. However, this is of course not the case.
In reality, banana peppers have a very mild spicy flavor, between 0 and 500 Scoville units only. They are nowhere near the level of any jalapeño, for instance, and instead have quite a sweet taste.
This makes them an ideal addition to a whole range of recipes, from Greek salads to pizza. You can also use banana peppers in dishes that would otherwise have hotter peppers, to give them a fun twist.
If you’re looking for some inspiration for awesome recipes that use banana peppers, we’ve collected a few below to get you started.
- Beef Stuffed Banana Peppers
- Banana Pepper Salsa
- Sweet Pickled Banana Peppers
- Spicy Stuffed Banana Peppers
- Island Shrimp and Banana Peppers
What Is The Nutritional Value Of Banana Peppers?
Banana peppers have a very high percentage of water (92%), with the next biggest proportion being 5% carbohydrates. They are high in fibre, which means that they are able to fill you up without having many calories.
They also contain small quantities of fat and protein. 100g of banana peppers has all the vitamin C you need in one day, and there is also a significant amount of vitamin B6 present.
These are the main nutrients that are found in banana peppers, and will help contribute to healthy organs and overall body function.
Are There Different Varieties Of Banana Peppers?
While they might seem like a fairly niche subcategory of peppers on their own, they do actually divide down even smaller. There is not one single ‘standard’ banana pepper, and each type has its own identity.
For example, the Sweet Banana variety is the most common, but you can also get Hot banana peppers with a slightly different flavor. There are small variations within these two groups, but they are the main two.
How Should I Store Banana Peppers?
Fresh banana peppers can be kept in a fridge drawer for up to 3 weeks, if you seal them properly in a plastic bag. They should be between 40 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure they are as dry as possible with no wrinkles on the skin.
If you can, keep them intact for storage, rather than cut, because they will last longer this way.
Alternatively, you can store your banana peppers in brine. The process for this is very different from the above, fresh version – you’ll need to slice the peppers in two, pop them into a jar and cover them with water mixed with a tablespoon of salt.
After you’ve put the lid on, you can place them in the fridge until you need them. Just make sure you rinse before use. When preserved in brine, banana peppers should be good for around one month.
It is best to use one of the above two ways, but if not, banana peppers can last for 1-2 weeks when left at room temperature. Don’t leave them uncovered – instead, store them in paper grocery bags out of direct sunlight and in as cool a spot as possible.
Many people choose to keep peppers and similar items in their pantry, which is an ideal place for this purpose.
How Can You Tell If Banana Peppers Are Ripe?
Ripe banana peppers will have the same yellow-green hue as a banana fruit that has not yet ripened fully. This is the optimal time to pick them, as long as they don’t have any soft spots on their skin.
Sometimes banana peppers may be left to ripen for longer, in which case they will gradually turn to more of an orangey-red color. Once planted they usually take around 70 days to be ready to pick, depending on the specific variety and growing conditions.
What Other Peppers Are Similar To Banana Peppers?
In terms of spiciness, there are various peppers you might have heard of that are on a similar level. These include Cubanelle peppers, Anaheim peppers, Cascabella peppers and pepperoncinis.
Pepperoncinis are a particularly great substitute for banana peppers if you need one, and some people even get the two mixed up because they are so alike. The main difference is that pepperoncinis have slightly wrinkled skin, as opposed to the smooth skin that banana peppers have.
The tangy flavor of banana peppers can be matched pretty well by Hungarian Wax peppers, but these are far hotter – proceed with caution if you want to use them instead in your cooking.
They can measure up to 15,000 Scovilles, although the Hungarian Wax peppers at the other end of their heat scale are more like 1000, so they cover quite a large range.
Where Can I Buy Banana Peppers?
Banana peppers are available to buy in most large grocery stores, such as Walmart. They should be in the fresh produce aisle, along with other peppers, herbs and vegetables.
Exact layouts vary between shops, so you can’t always guarantee they’ll be in the same place every time and you might have to hunt around for a bit.
If you don’t need fresh banana peppers, pickled ones are a good alternative because they last for longer, so you can keep them for when you need to use them or eat them straight from the jar.
Can I Grow My Own Banana Peppers?
Yes! In fact, they are quite straightforward to grow, so you can have a continuous supply of them even when they’re difficult to find in stores. They need plenty of sun to thrive, so are well suited to warm climates like many other pepper varieties.
Banana pepper seeds are usually sold in big home or garden stores around the time of growing season, but you can also buy them easily online – check out Amazon for the latest deals.
Initially, banana plants should be grown inside for at least 40 days before you transfer them outdoors once the weather permits. You will need to place the seeds in peat pots and cover with a thin layer of soil.
Whether at the inside or outside stage, banana plants require a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight daily.