Long sweet peppers were named for their length, not their sweetness. I have always enjoyed sweet and spicy peppers. I love the way the heat shoots through my mouth, but the sweetness of the pepper cuts through the heat. In my latest review, I try some long sweet red peppers and give them a rating.
Italian Long Sweet Chile Peppers
Italian Long Sweet chile peppers are elongated, curved to straight pods, averaging 20 to 25 centimeters in length, and have a conical shape that tapers to a point on the non-stem end. The pods often appear twisted due to their length and prominent creases, and the skin is smooth, glossy, and waxy, ripening from green, yellow, to red when mature. Underneath the surface, the flesh is crisp and aqueous, encasing a narrow cavity filled with small white membranes and round and flat, cream-colored seeds. Fresh Italian Long Sweet chile peppers have a mild, sweet flavor with little to no spice, and when cooked, they develop a complex, smoky-sweet taste.
Italian Long Sweet chile peppers are available in the summer through fall.
Italian Long Sweet chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are a mild, sweet variety from Italy that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also commonly referred to as Italianelles or Italian Frying peppers, Italian Long Sweet chile peppers have a sweet taste when harvested in all stages of ripeness, including green, yellow, or red. The peppers range 0-100 SHU on the Scoville scale, which represents little to no heat, and they are most often used in their immature, green state for both raw and cooked culinary applications. There are many varieties of Italian peppers that may be labeled as Long Sweet peppers, and these peppers are primarily found in local markets through small farms and home gardeners.
Italian Long Sweet chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help build collagen in the body and boost the immune system. The peppers also contain some potassium, vitamin A, folate, manganese, and vitamin K.
Italian Long Sweet chile peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, frying, and grilling. When fresh, the peppers can be blended into sauces and salsas, chopped into salads, diced for bruschetta, or layered onto sandwiches. The peppers can also be sliced and stirred into soups, mixed into pasta, sprinkled over pizza, or stuffed with fillings and roasted. In Italy, Italian Long Sweet chile peppers are popularly fried whole and served as a light, crisp side dish to cooked meats or as an appetizer served with cheeses. Italian Long Sweet chile peppers pair well with cheeses such as mozzarella, fontina, romano, gruyere, gouda, feta, and parmesan, cauliflower rice, garlic, onions, herbs such as basil, thyme, and parsley, tomatoes, and meats such as sausage, prosciutto, poultry, and beef. Fresh peppers will keep up to one week when stored whole and unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
In the Campanian region of Italy, Italian Long Sweet peppers are a favorite appetizer served at vendemmia, or the annual grape harvest each fall. During the day, families and whole villages will work together to harvest grapes from the vines for winemakg, and at night, they will hold gatherings around woodfire ovens and campfires to celebrate good food and drink the previous year’s wine. During the celebration, Italian Long Sweet peppers are traditionally stuffed with bread crumbs, cheeses, olives, garlic, tomatoes, rice, and meats. The roasted peppers can be served as a light vegetable pairing with heavier grilled meats such as sausage, beef, and poultry or they can be served as an appetizer with a fresh green salad.
Italian Long Sweet chile peppers were first grown in Italy, where they have been cultivated extensively for culinary use. Italian peppers are descendants of peppers originally from Central and South America and were brought to Europe via Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 15th and 16th centuries. Since their introduction, peppers have been grown for many years across Italy, and varieties have been bred for specific traits, like the sweet nature of the Italian Long Sweet chile pepper. The peppers we also brought to the United States in the early 20th century through Italian immigrants. Today Italian Long Sweet chile peppers are not commercially produced and can be found through small farms at farmer’s markets in Europe and the United States. The seeds are also available through online catalogs for home garden cultivation.
Sweet Long Peppers Stuffed with Cauliflower Rice
- 1 12 oz. bag of riced cauliflower
- 6 good size sweet long peppers ( Sweet Twister’s)
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
- 6 to 8 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
- 1¼ cup of grape tomatoes, each one cut into 4 pieces
- 1 heaping ¼ cup of grated romano cheese
- 1 heaping cup of shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese, or any cheese that melts really good
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- Heat oven to 400F
- Place foil on a rimmed sheet pan and drizzle the bottom with a little olive oil.
- In a saute pan drizzled with olive oil, add the onion and garlic until soft then pour in the frozen cauliflower stirring until it has defrosted and cooked a little.
- Add in all the other ingredients, garlic, parsley,basil, both cheese and tomatoes, plus salt and pepper to taste, mixing until all combined.
- Let it cool down a bit, in the meantime prep your peppers.
- Try to leave the stems on it gives a nice presentation.
- Figure out which side of the pepper will lay flat and sturdy in the pan.
- Cut a slit on top being careful not to go completely through the top or pointed bottom.
- Pull out the seeds and ribs with your fingers, it will be easy.
- Drizzle the inside with a little olive oil and some black pepper.
- Fill each pepper with the cauliflower rice mixture all the way to the top.
- Place them onto the rimmed sheet pan with a quick little drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or so, the cheese should be melted and the peppers starting to wrinkle and become soft.
- Garnish with chopped basil and parsley.
Five Ways to Cook Sweet Peppers
Roasted bell peppers
Eat sweet peppers raw in salads, or eat them steamed, stir-fried, roasted, grilled or roasted or stuffed. Use them in casseroles or rice dishes.
Sweet peppers are in season from late spring through late summer.
Types of Sweet Peppers
Sweet peppers are warm-season annuals in temperate regions and perennials in tropical climates. Sweet peppers are herbaceous plants that usually become woody at the stem base. They grow from 6 to 48 inches (15-122cm) tall depending upon the variety. They are multi-branched with smooth oval to lance-like, deep-green leaves 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) long.
Sweet peppers range in color from pale to dark green, from yellow to orange to red, and from purple to brown to black. They can be a solid color or variegated.
The juicy flesh of sweet peppers can be thick or thin and the flavor can range from bland to sweet to bittersweet.
The fruits or pods of sweet peppers are edible. The pod of the bell pepper has four lobes and is somewhat square in shape. Some sweet peppers have three lobes and some are tapered in shape with no lobes at all.
- Bell peppers are the best known and most widely available sweet peppers. Bell peppers can vary from 3½ to 5½ inches (9-14 cm) long and from 2½ to 4 inches (6.4-10 cm) wide. Bell peppers get their name from their bell-like shape. Bell peppers have a mild, sweet flavor and crisp juicy flesh. They are usually bright green, but they also can be yellow, orange, purple, red, and brown. If a bell pepper is red, it has been vine-ripened. Red bell peppers are sweeter tasting than green bell peppers.
- Bull’s Horn is a long, narrow, sickle-shaped green pepper with a pointed tip that turns from green to yellow to red in late summer.
- Cubanelle—also called Cuban pepper is a long (about 4 inches/10 cm), tapered yellow to red pepper with thick meaty walls that is more flavorful than the bell pepper.
- Lamuyo–also called European sweet pepper or rouge royal pepper is a very sweet, bell-shaped pepper that is longer and larger and more slender than the standard bell pepper with thick-flesh.
- Pimiento is a large, heart-shaped pepper with thick, meaty flesh that is excellent for roasting and peeling.
- Sweet Banana is a long, banana-shaped yellow pepper good to stuff or pickle.
How to Choose a Sweet Pepper
- Select sweet peppers that are firm, glossy, and plump with no blemishes or soft spots.
- Select brightly colored peppers.
- Peppers that are heavy for their size will have thick, meaty walls.
- Avoid peppers that are shriveled or have soft spots.
- If a pepper is green, it was harvested before it ripened. A green pepper will turn yellow and red as it matures. Purple, brown and black peppers will become green as they ripen.
- Peppers that ripen on the plant will be sweeter and more fragrant than those that don’t. Red and orange peppers are the sweetest.
How to Store Sweet Peppers
- Unwashed sweet peppers will keep in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in a cool, dry spot for up to 2 weeks. Store peppers whole rather than sliced.
- If blanched or roasted and peeled, peppers will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Dried peppers will keep for up to 1 year.
How to Prep Sweet Peppers
- Cut sweet peppers into slices, strips or pieces. Remove the stem, the core, and the seeds before cutting.
- Cut sweet peppers crosswise for rings and lengthwise for julienne strips or diced cubes.
- For stuffing, parboil the whole pepper for 3 to 5 minutes then refresh in cold water for 5 minutes.
- To peel a pepper, first, bake the whole pepper in a preheated oven at 350º F (176º C) for 5 to 8 minutes; place the baked pepper in a paper or plastic bag and seal; let sit for about 15 minutes; remove, slice and remove the seeds; peel off the skin with your fingers.
- To stuff a pepper, make a cut around the stem and remove it; or cut about ¼ or ½ inch (6-13 mm) off the top; pare out the seeds and core and any whitish veins; fill the cored pepper with stuffing and replace the top. To shorten the cooking time, blanch the pepper in advance.
Sweet Pepper Cooking Suggestions
- Use raw slices or diced peppers to add color and flavor to vegetable platters and salads or to garnish casseroles and soups.
- Simmer pepper pieces 3 to 7 minutes.
- Steam pieces or cored whole peppers for 5 to 10 minutes depending upon the thickness of the walls.
- Sauté or stir-dry pepper pieces without coating or batter for 4 to 9 minutes or long enough to soften.
- Sauté sweet pepper strips in olive oil with onions and garlic, sprinkle with vinegar, and chill. There you have a tasty weekend salad. But wait! You can use this same mix to top hot Italian sausages.
- Pan-fry or deep-fat fry pepper slices in a wet or a dipped batter until the crust is golden brown.
- Bake whole stuffed peppers until the stuffing is browned.
- Peppers become sweet when cooked. Don’t overcook peppers; they will lose flavor and nutrients.
- Cooking will cause brown, black, and purple peppers to become green.
How to Steam Sweet Peppers
Steam whole bell peppers for stuffing, or steam pieces of peppers for a side dish.
- Cut out the stem and seeds.
- Place whole peppers upright in a steaming basket or place cut pieces in the basket. Be sure the water below the basket does not touch the peppers.
- Bring the water to a boil over medium heat; cover and steam until the peppers are just tender, about 4 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the peppers.
- Whole peppers can be stuffed with rice, chopped vegetables, seasoning, and cheese.
How to Sauté (Stir-Fry) Sweet Peppers
- Cut the pepper into small pieces.
- Heat a small amount of oil over medium heat in a heavy skillet.
- Add pepper pieces and stir occasionally so the pieces cook evenly.
- Add flavorings such as chopped onions, minced garlic, freshly ground black peppers, or a few teaspoons of lemon or lime juice.
- Cook until the peppers become tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add other vegetables such as onions and mushrooms just after the peppers if you like.
How to Roast Sweet Peppers
- Brush the peppers with a light coat of vegetable oil.
- Place the peppers on a broiler in the oven.
- Turn the peppers as they broil to brown them evenly, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- When they are charred, place the peppers inside either a plastic resealable or brown paper bag for 15 minutes before peeling off the outer charred layer.
- Cut up the peppers as desired based on how you plan to use them.
How to Grill Sweet Peppers
- Grill whole peppers or pepper pieces. To keep smaller pieces from falling through the grates, place them on a skewer before grilling.
- Brush the peppers with a light coating of olive oil and season.
- Use green, red and yellow bell peppers for a colorful, grilled vegetable side dish.
- Place the peppers on the grill.
- Turn until they are evenly brown or charred, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Place the peppers inside either a plastic resealable or brown paper bag for 15 minutes before peeling off the outer charred layer.
- Cut up the peppers as desired based on how you plan to use them.