Chili varieties differ in terms of heat level and aftertaste. We’ll give you a brief overview of three of the most popular varieties of chili peppers.
There are numerous well-known chili varieties that you can use for different dishes. Besides their fiery taste, chilies are also very healthy: they contain a lot of vitamin B1 and vitamin C. They also provide minerals such as potassium. In addition, they provide minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Capsaicin is responsible for spiciness, which additionally stimulates blood circulation and digestion and is good for the immune system. The heat level of chilies is measured using the Scoville scale. One milligram of capsaicin per kilogram, for example, corresponds to 16.1 Scoville (SHU). Read more about the Scoville scale in this article: Spicy Food: How (un)healthy is it?
Sustainability of chili varieties
From an ecological point of view, it’s better to grow your favorite chili varieties yourself. Chilies originally come from warmer regions, such as the Caribbean or New Mexico in the USA. When you grow your own, you avoid unnecessary transportation. If you want to plant one or more chili varieties, use organic seeds. This way you can be sure that the seeds do not come from conventional agriculture and do not contain synthetic chemical pesticides. You can buy organic chili seeds from Bingenheimer Saatgut, for example.
You can also make your own chili powder or chili paste from fresh chili peppers. Any type of chili is suitable for air drying. However, if you want to dry the chilies in the oven, for example, you should use thin-walled chilies. One of the thin-walled chili varieties is cayenne. To dry them, bake the pods at 40 to 50 degrees Celsius for three to eight hours.
Anaheim (Capsicum annuum)
You can enjoy the Anaheim chili variety green, but also red when it matures longer.
The Anaheim-type chili variety, also known as Capsicum annuum in Latin, is the most widespread chili variety. It includes jalapeño and cayenne peppers, among others. Anaheim exhibits a wide range of appearance and flavor characteristics. Often Anaheim-type chilies are grilled, but also find application as taco sauce, chili sin carne, or as a powder. Here are the most important at a glance:
- Origin: New Mexico, USA
- Color: Anaheim type is green when unripe, otherwise red
- Degree of heat: from 500 to 1500 Scoville
- Size of pods: 15 to 20 centimeters long, with large cavities
- Taste: varies from mild to somewhat hot, depending on growing conditions
- Planting time and harvest: between Christmas and New Year, you can grow the chilies indoors. Once about four leaves have formed, the Anaheim can be transplanted into larger pots or into the garden. The harvest can then be expected from June onwards.
- Germination period, maturation time, and germination temperature: The germination period, i.e. the time the seed takes from sowing to sprouting, is ten to fourteen days. After that, it takes about 95 days for the Anaheim type to fully mature. Germination temperature describes what temperature the soil must be before the seed begins to germinate. You should germinate the Anaheim chili at 25 to 28 degrees Celsius. You can achieve 25 to 28 degrees Celsius, for example, with the help of an indoor greenhouse.
Tip: If you plant the Anaheim chili between Christmas and New Year, you can usually expect a second harvest in September or October of the following year.
Lemon Drop/Hot Lemon (Capsicum baccatum).
The chili variety Lemon Drop is characterized by a citrus note.
The chili variety Lemon Drop, also called Hot Lemon, is also very popular. The Latin term is Capsicum baccatum. The special thing about this chili variety is its citrus flavor, which also gives it its name. Lemon drop chilies are often used for spicy salads. Here is an overview of the characteristics:
- Origin: South America
- Color: green for unripe chilies, otherwise red
- Degree of heat: 15.000-30.000 Scoville
- Size of the pods: four to ten centimeters
- Taste: besides the spiciness, a slight citrus aroma
- Planting time and harvest: grow Lemon Drop chilies indoors and sow them from February to March. A harvest can be expected between August and October.
- Germination period, maturation time, and germination temperature: The germination period of Lemon Drop is one to three weeks. In four to six months, the chili variety of Lemon Drop is then fully mature. The recommended germination temperature is 30 to 25 degrees Celsius.
Habanero Scotch Bonnet (Capsicum Chinese)
The Habanero Scotch Bonnet has a particularly high degree of pungency.
The Habanero Scotch Bonnet chili variety is very spicy, with a heat level of 800,000 Scoville. You can use it for spicy chili sin carne or a fiery sauce, for example. Here are the most important facts about this chili variety:
- Origin: Caribbean
- Color: green, yellow, red, or orange
- Degree of heat: about 800,000 Scoville
- Size of the pods: three to five centimeters
- Taste: tropical-fruity with light peach aromas
- Planting time and harvest: Sow your habaneros between Christmas and New Year and grow them indoors. From mid-May to early October, you can then transplant the habaneros to the garden or balcony. The harvest time starts in August.
- Germination period, ripening time, and germination temperature: The germination period of habaneros is 8 to 14 days. It is then ripe after 90 to 100 days. Habaneros ripen best at a germination temperature of 25 to 28 degrees Celsius.
Tips when chili varieties are too hot
Some chili varieties may be too hot for your taste. Different foods are used to combat burning in the mouth depending on the country:
Mango lassi (India) or sweet dessert dishes (Mexico). These often contain dairy products. Since capsaicin is fat-soluble, dairy products help neutralize the spiciness better.
Hot tea (Vietnam and Morocco), as is believed to have a soothing effect.
When it comes to spiciness, sugar and starch are also the main contributors to neutralization.