Would you like to start cultivating your passion for spicy food but don't know which variety to begin with? Eating spicy food is a real palate challenge, but that's the fun – balancing the various flavors and levels of spiciness to find the chili pepper that suits you. Remember that your palate isn't actually on fire, and with a piece of bread and something cool to drink, you can always reduce the sensation of heat.
To better navigate the world of spicy varieties, we've selected cultivars based on their capsaicin content, the substance responsible for the sensation of heat, using the Scoville scale.
How and when to transplant hot peppers?
Keep in mind that generally, all plants in the chili pepper family love warm weather, so you'll need to wait until the end of winter to start transplanting them.
If you want more robust plants with plenty of hot peppers, you should use a light and friable substrate like coconut fiber, a highly nutritious and eco-friendly organic compound that allows for prolonged fertilization without making a mess! To keep the soil moist without water stagnation, it's best to water sparingly but frequently because many chili pepper varieties require minimal water.
Using Poty, the vertical garden developed by Hexagro, it will be easier and more intuitive to monitor the required water level! With its automated drip irrigation system tailored to the needs of each plant, it's impossible to go wrong or forget to water.
Thanks to its vertically stacked modules, organizing the garden will also be more practical. In the case of chili peppers, it's best to place the plant in taller pots to expose them to full sun. The spiciest fruits are obtained from plants cultivated in sunny and slightly dry environments.
The harvest period will also affect the capsaicin content of your chili peppers. Their spiciness decreases as the fruits ripen. You will have unripe fruits with a rating of around 40,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), and fully ripe fruits will hardly exceed 12,000 to 15,000 SHU.
Now that you know how to manage hot peppers, it's time to choose them!
The ranking of 5 chili peppers, from least to most spicy
1- Hot round pepper
Let's start with the least spicy variety on Hexagro's catalog: the round hot pepper, also known as the "Kiss of Satan." The fruit is round with a shiny, firm skin that hides a spicy character but is tolerable. It is one of the most consumed and preferred varieties, especially by those who are not particularly accustomed to spiciness. Recipes that use these cherry chili peppers, such as the classic tuna and caper stuffing, help "hide" the spiciness and make it more accessible to everyone.
2- The jalapeño
In second place, we find the Jalapeño, known worldwide for its light and pleasant spiciness. The fruit's flesh is fleshy and resilient, and its color varies from yellow to orange, to red/purple depending on the ripeness stage. It is mainly used in Mexican cuisine to prepare the famous ranchera sauce or to season tortillas and nachos, adding an extra dimension to the dishes without overwhelming their flavor.
Let's step up the intensity, sensitive folks abstain!
3- Cayenne peppers
In third place, we have the chili pepper par excellence: the Cayenne pepper, also known as the lucky talisman, is also known for its aphrodisiac properties. Its horn-shaped form and bright red color make it unmistakable! Consumed both fresh and dried, it is used in moderation in the kitchen, in small dried pieces or preserved in oil, but especially in powder form. Cayenne pepper is one of the most commonly used varieties for seasoning pasta, flavoring oil, and making sauces like Amatriciana and Arrabbiata.
4- Hot lemon pepper
The Hot Lemon pepper, as the name suggests, is a variety with a vibrant yellow color, registering 30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. However, don't be fooled by its friendly appearance. This little one can challenge even the most avid chili eaters. Its lemony aromatic notes make it perfect for accompanying dishes with an exotic aroma, such as yogurt chicken or "hot lemon" skewers – a gem not to be underestimated!
5- Habanero chocolate
In the first place, recommended only for "spicy professionals," we find the unmistakable Habanero Chocolate. Its dark ebony color and distinct dark chocolate notes make it unique, giving life to recipes appreciated all over the world, like the famous "habanero sauce." Don't worry, although its spiciness can be bothersome for some particularly sensitive individuals, it doesn't cause any irreversible damage, and it doesn't provoke anything in the mouth other than the classic, albeit strong, burning sensation.
Whether you're a spicy food lover or just looking for a cheerful and hardy decorative plant, Hexagro's five chili pepper varieties have got you covered!
Photo by Jeppe Vadgaard on Unsplash.