February 19, 2019

Red Hot

Cayenne peppers - a cultivar of Capsicum annuum

Faith Pineo Photo | Cayenne peppers – a cultivar of Capsicum annuum

There’s nothing like picking a plateful of cayenne peppers and then wondering “What now?” For one surely won’t be using more than one – or even part of one – at a time in a dish unless you like your food to ignite your mouth. Cayenne peppers are a cultivar of Capsicum annuum. Chili peppers have been cultivated for a few thousand years, spreading around the world as explorers from many nations “discovered” them upon their arrival in the Americas. Cayenne pepper is the source of the spice labeled red pepper in the store. As far as heat goes, cayenne is rated on the Scoville Scale as 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. A sweet pepper has a zero rating, meaning it contains no capsaicin, while a habanero has a rating of 200,000 or more. Which puts the cayenne into the mild end of things. As far as growing cayenne peppers, treat them like any other pepper. Full sun and adequate water are crucial, along with rich soil. Peppers are self-pollinating, which means they can set fruit without outside help, although a bit of a breeze helps get the pollen where it needs to go.

Cayenne pepper in the garden

Janine Pineo Photo | Cayenne pepper in the garden