Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, a peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
Whether you can say this tongue twister with ease or are still having trouble, there’s a good chance that you haven’t heard of Peter peppers themselves, as they’re generally considered quite rare.
Nevertheless, they’re an unusually interesting variety of pepper, so read on to find out more about them.
Peter Peppers: Appearance
This is what makes the peter pepper so distinctive. They’re sometimes called the penis pepper because, to quote from Jean Andrews’ book Peppers: The Domesticated Capsicums, they look like “a miniature replica of the circumcised male organ”.
This has led Organic Gardening Magazine to award them the title of “The Most Pornographic Pepper”. The pepper’s pod is wrinkled and has a distinctive cleft at the end.
This giggle-inducing appearance makes it a great pepper to be able to, ahem, pull out when you have guests over (as long as you’re absolutely sure they’re not of too conservative a mindset).
The way they look also contributes to their rarity since, for obvious reasons, not too many large stores want to carry such an obviously phallic chili alongside their bell peppers and onions.
Aside from this amusing quality, the peppers are around two to four inches long and one inch in diameter (we did say miniature, after all).
In terms of color, the immature peppers are green, but they mature into an orange or bright red color, which is how they’re typically eaten. They were originally grown only for ornamental purposes but are now grown for consumption as well.
Peter Peppers: Taste And Use In Cooking
Peter peppers are fairly spicy, but not overly so. Their Scoville rating is from 10,000 to 25,000, – around six times hotter than a jalapeño – which puts them on about the same level as a manzano pepper, and somewhat less spicy than a cayenne pepper.
Aside from the spice itself, the taste is quite similar to the taste of a jalapeño, though they can be a little bit fruitier.
They have a sweetness to them that is enhanced if they’re roasted. While their potential for use in cooking was only noticed fairly recently, this sweetness is one of the things that makes them excellent for use in salsa and other sauces if you’re looking to add a pretty robust heat to them.
Most dishes that call for a serrano pepper can be made just as well with a peter pepper, and they’re also a good replacement for jalapeños as long as you can stand the extra heat.
Another thing they’re good for is dehydrating to use as chili powder or chili flakes.
Their fiery heat and bright color give them the piquancy and color you need in a dry chili product. These can then be added to all kinds of stews, curries, sauces and so on to bring them alive with some chili heat.
Peter Peppers: Growing
It’s not known for certain where peter peppers originated, although it’s possible that it was in the Southern United States, specifically Texas and Louisiana.
They are now grown in gardens in a wide variety of places around the world. It is a type of capsicum annum, though it isn’t officially recognized as such.
They’re certainly not the most common type of pepper around, but you’ll be able to find seeds if you look around online.
They’re not quite as productive as some other types of peppers like cayenne peppers, but they’re still fun to grow and might make for a good conversation point with anyone else who sees them and their unusual shape.
Start them off inside in small containers 8-10 weeks before the last frost, keeping them in about a quarter inch of soil until they germinate – this should take 2 – 6 weeks.
Make sure to keep them warm until the weather outside warms up, as a soil temperature of around 75 F to 90 F is required for them to germinate properly.
The soul also needs to be kept moist, though you must also be careful not to flood it – only water it again when it seems to be drying out.
You can keep them inside if you wish, keeping them in small containers until they’ve grown some leaves. After this, you can plant them in your garden or in a larger container.
If you’re taking them outside, let them get used to this new environment by only exposing them to filtered sunlight for the first week or two, otherwise harsh, bright sunlight might damage them. Once fully grown, individual peter pepper plants should grow to around 3 to 4 feet in height.