Many people around the world love the daring kick and punch that a good chili provides. The spiciness of chili adds a new dimension of taste to any meal.
In addition to adding to the flavor, a chili pepper enhances the color and makes the dish so much more complex. The Italian Long Hot Pepper is not an exception.
A tasty chili does not necessarily have to be the hottest thing on the planet to be flavorful. One prime example is the Italian Long Hot Pepper (also known as the Italian Long Hot).
These peppers are sweet and mild and are most commonly found in various examples of Italian cooking. However, thanks to their versatility, these peppers have become very popular throughout the US.
If you want to know more about the Italian Long Hot, we’ve got you and your taste buds covered. Come along with us on a metaphorical journey through the rural Italian countryside.
Where Do Italian Long Hot Peppers Come From?
The Italian Long Hot Pepper is a descendant of peppers originating from Central and South America, and was introduced to Europe through Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries.
And, as suggested by their name, Italian Long Hot Peppers originate from Italy.
They are commonly found in Italian country markets and are used to add a dash of flavor to a variety of homemade comfort dishes. Today these peppers can be found growing all around other regions of Europe in addition to Italy.
What Do Italian Long Hot Peppers Look Like?
These peppers are characterized by their recognizable elongated shape, giving it the chili part of its name.
Italian Long Hot Peppers are typically around 6 to 9 inches in length and feature a thin body that differs between each individual pepper.
They are typically green in their younger stages and end up ripening to a shade of bright red as they mature and fully develop their flavor over time. You may also see mixed hues begin to appear as these peppers develop.
Scoville Scale Level
Italian Long Hots are known for their spice levels, but for the opposite reason as opposed to most of their counterparts. These peppers are nowhere near the heat intensity of the likes of a serrano, habanero, or even a jalapeño, yet still provide all the flavor you could ever need in a dish.
In fact, Long Hots provide a mild, sweet taste that has a rating ranging between 100 and 1000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale. This makes it at least 3 times milder than your average jalapeño, which usually scores anywhere between 2,500–8,000 on the Scoville Scale.
The Italian Long Hot is also equal to Cubanelle peppers and Pepperoncini in terms of spiciness but can provide double the heat.
The heat rating of the Italian Long Hot also closely matches that of capsicums or bell peppers, although the latter is much more complex in terms of flavor. You could also substitute Long Hots with Anaheim peppers.
How Do Italian Long Hot Peppers Taste?
Italian Long Hots has a unique taste that sets them apart from most other peppers. They are tangy and sweet, but also have a relatively complex flavor that is supported by the undertones of a milder spice.
It’s important to note that the spice in each pepper varies, ranging from a sweeter, barely-there spice to a milder spice in some instances.
Additionally, the rich flavor of Italian Long Hot is increasingly more prominent when they are roasted and smoked.
It is also common practice to roast Italian Long Hots when they are green, with a mix of salt, garlic, and olive oil. They should then be served whole, with both skin and seeds still intact.
Since the skin and outer membranes of the Italian Long Hots are very thin, they can be lightly fried or charred to bring out extra crispy goodness, sweetness, and a unique smokey flavor.
Frying the Italian Long Hot Pepper in this way helps to achieve high levels of flavor without intense spice, making it the perfect pepper for even the most spice-resistant individual.
What Are Italian Long Hots Used For?
The Italian Long Hot Pepper has many uses. Notably, they have become trusted kitchen companions for culinary experts around the world, adding a stunning element of flavor to any meal.
They are the ideal addition to any dish, either as a side or on the top.
Other Meal Ideas Using Italian Long Hots
You will also find the Italian Long Hot Peppers to be a common garnish on a lot of fast food, including Hoagies, sandwiches, and pizza – adding a bit of a crunch with every meal.
They can also be puréed and chopped before being added to particular dishes and condiments, including pasta, sauces, and salsas.
When added to meals during cooking, they are incorporated whole, with the skin and the seeds included. Stuffed Italian Long Hot Peppers are very popular and may also be served as an appetizer in any three-course meal.
However, thinner “bodies” mean these peppers do not have the structural integrity or enough capacity to successfully withstand a large amount of filling.
Thankfully, their mild spice levels and sweet flavor allow them to be used in large quantities in side dishes and salads.
Italian Long Hots are a great source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps to protect and boost the immune system. The peppers also contain some vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and vitamin K.
It’s also important to note that hot peppers have stood the test of time. Researchers have shown that capsaicin can have a positive impact on heart health, aids in the prevention of diabetes, and may also help to prevent cancer.
Hotter peppers are also known to help lower blood pressure and reduce hunger cravings.
How To Store
Fresh Italian Long Hot Peppers will keep for 1 to 2 weeks when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. However, they must remain whole and unwashed. Pickled peppers may keep for up to one year in the refrigerator.
Roasted long hots will usually last one week in your fridge. If you find that you have made too many, they can be stored in the freezer until you have time to use them up. They thaw quite easily.
Italian Long Hot Peppers are as delicious as they are practical. They are highly versatile and can be added to a variety of dishes in many forms for you and your family to enjoy. In addition, they are an excellent source of vitamin C meaning they come with several health benefits.