International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Peppers: Buying, Storing and Using

Bunches of red chile peppers

Image by Pixabay

The whole world loves peppers. Capsicum annuum, was first domesticated by the native peoples of Central America around 5000 B.C. With the arrival of Europeans the pepper was spread throughout the world. The pepper has since become an indispensable ingredient in many of the world's cuisines, great and small.

Pepper Varieties

Peppers take on a never-ending variety of forms. While the sweet bell pepper is the form most commonly found in the United States, hot chilies are far more common throughout the world, lending their fire to a variety of dishes.

Some of the most popular pepper varieties are the common bell, Anaheim, Poblano, Hungarian wax, pasilla, Habanero, mullato, serrano, Thai, bird's-eye, Korean, jalapeño, banana, Scotch bonnet, cayenne and cubanelle.

The heat of peppers comes from a chemical called capsaicin and is measured by something called the Scoville scale. Bell peppers score a zero. The common jalapeño can get as high as 8,000. And the granddaddy of hot peppers, the habanero, can reach a mouth-searing 500,000.

Pepper Seasonality

Peppers love heat and come into season in mid-to late-summer.

Buying, Storing and Preparing Peppers

Buy peppers that have a bright color and are plump and smooth with no soft spots. They should be stored in the crisper compartment of your refrigerator for up to a week. Use rubber gloves when chopping chile peppers to avoid a nasty burn on your face, eyes or anywhere else your hands may go. Most of the heat is in the seeds and in the white pith on the insides.

Pepper Uses Around the World

The use of chiles has reached a high art in Mexico where they are used fresh, dried, smoked and powdered. The chipotle pepper is a smoked jalapeño. Peppers can also be sauteed, pickled, roasted, grilled, stuffed and baked and battered and deep-fried. Peppers, along with onions and celery, form the "Holy Trinity" of Cajun cooking.

International Pepper Recipes


Pot of chakalaka on the stove

(South African spicy tomato, pepper and onion dish)


Individual portion of chakchouka

(North African eggs poached in a pepper ragout)


Muhammara (Middle Eastern spicy red pepper and walnut dip)

(Middle Eastern spicy roasted pepper dip)


Lecso (Hungarian simmered peppers and tomatoes)

(Hungarian simmered peppers and tomatoes)


A bowl of fresh chismol

(Central American fresh tomato, pepper and onion salsa)

Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese sandwich

(American Southern cheese spread and sandwich filling)


Ajvar (Serbian roasted pepper and eggplant spread)

(Serbian roasted eggplant and pepper spread)


Htipiti (Greek feta and roasted red pepper dip)

(Greek feta and roasted red pepper spread)


A pan of migas murcianas

(Portuguese, Spanish leftover bread dish)


Whats4eats is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

You Might Also Like