As a self-proclaimed chilli enthusiast and a former chef who’s turned my experiences into a food blog, I’ve been lucky to play around with a diverse mix of ingredients.
Today, I want to talk about – Cherry Peppers.
Table of Contents
What are Cherry Peppers?
First, let’s start with some facts!
Cherry Peppers aren’t grown in cherry trees or cross-breed with cherries.
In fact, cherry peppers are a variety of capsicum, like bell peppers, jalapeños, and habaneros.
The name ‘cherry pepper’ comes from their round, cherry-like shape and vibrant, cheery colours, ranging from green, yellow, red, and purple.
The Varieties of Cherry Peppers
There are two main types of cherry peppers – sweet (Capsicum annuum var. cerasiforme) and hot (Capsicum annuum var. aviculare)?
Just as the name suggests, sweet cherry peppers are mild and sweet.
They’re perfect for those who like a slight tang without the burn.
On the other hand, hot cherry peppers pack a fiery punch for those who want their food with a kick.
Uses of Cherry Peppers
You can use them fresh, pickled, or stuffed.
They’re great in salads, sandwiches and used as pizza toppings.
Fancy a dollop of heat in your pasta? Use some cherry peppers.
Need to liven up your cocktail? A cherry pepper will do the trick!
The Taste of Cherry Peppers
The sweet cherry peppers offer a crisp, succulent sweetness with a subtle, tangy bite.
Hot cherry peppers, on the other hand, bring both sweetness and a moderate level of heat to the table. They’re not as spicy as jalapeños, but they still have a zing that’ll tickle your tastebuds.
Suggested Recipes with Cherry Peppers
Some recipe suggestions.
Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Fill these round treats with cream cheese and shredded chicken, and bake until golden. Voila! You have a mouthwatering appetiser.
Cherry Pepper Relish
Finely chop cherry peppers, garlic, and onions. Sauté in olive oil, add a splash of vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar, and simmer until it thickens into a relish. This makes a perfect condiment for grilled meats or burgers.
Spicy Cherry Pepper Pasta
Sauté sliced cherry peppers with garlic and anchovies in olive oil. Toss in cooked pasta, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and you have a simple yet fiery dinner.
Spicy Cherry Pepper Pasta with Anchovies
- 400 grams of your preferred pasta (spaghetti or linguine work well)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (2 oz) anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
- 1 cup jarred hot cherry peppers, drained and chopped
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
- Salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and anchovies, stirring until the anchovies have melted into the oil, around 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped cherry peppers, cherry tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to the skillet. Cook for around 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to break down.
- Season with salt and pepper. Be careful with the salt, as the anchovies will add a good amount of saltiness to the dish.
- Drain the cooked pasta, reserving some pasta water. Add the pasta to the skillet with the cherry pepper and anchovy mixture, tossing well to combine. If the pasta seems dry, add a bit of the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired sauce consistency.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the chopped parsley.
- Serve the pasta in bowls, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Where to Buy Cherry Peppers
For those in the UK, you can find fresh cherry peppers in larger supermarkets or speciality food stores during their growing season, typically between August and September.
Outside the season, they’re widely available in pickled or stuffed jars in most grocery stores.
Online websites like Amazon, Ocado, and various gourmet food sites sell cherry peppers all year round. Just type in ‘buy cherry peppers online’ in your search bar, and you’ll have several options.
How to Store Cherry Peppers
Fresh cherry peppers should be stored in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator, where they’ll last for about a week.
If you’ve bought a jar of pickled or stuffed cherry peppers, once opened, it should be refrigerated and consumed within two weeks for the best taste and quality.
FAQs about Cherry Peppers
Are cherry peppers hotter than jalapeños?
No, cherry peppers are generally milder than jalapeños. However, the heat level can vary depending on the variety and growing conditions.
Can I grow cherry peppers at home?
Absolutely! Cherry peppers can be grown in pots or garden beds, given enough sunlight and proper care. They’ll add a pop of colour to your garden and a burst of flavour to your kitchen!
Are cherry peppers good for health?
Yes! They’re low in calories, high in vitamin C, and contain capsaicin, a compound believed to have several health benefits, including boosting metabolism.
So, the next time you see these vibrant, round peppers, don’t hesitate to add them to your basket and bring a bit of cheer into your kitchen!
I would love to hear from you, and let me know how you got on with the recipes above. So leave a comment below!
Until next time, happy cooking and eating!