(Editor’s Note: This is an update to our Cherry Peppers post from September, 2012. Sometimes called pimento or pimiento, it’s a chili pepper with mild heat. Whether you grow them in your garden or not, it’s wonderful for an Hors d’oeuvre for a BBQ or patio party.)

Of all the plants and vegetables starting with the letter “P”, Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. BUT what kind were they, and what did he do with them?

I prefer cherry peppers. Like bell peppers, they’re sweet and have a thick flesh; they have more aroma than a red bell pepper.

And what about the heat?

Cherry Peppers’ Heat

Some varieties, like Santa Fe Grande, are hot; but to me cherry peppers pack moderate heat (between five and seven, on a scale of one to ten).

If you look at the Scoville scale ratings of chili peppers, cherry peppers have one of the lowest heat ratings of ANY chili pepper!

The scale’s named after Wilbur Scoville, who came up with the test a century ago while working for a pharmaceutical company. His scale measures the capsaicin, a chemical with roughly the same effect on human skin as venom from a tarantula! (I’m not making this up!)

It also involves using a panel of 5 taste testers. Probably for emergency medical reasons, tasters taste only one sample per session.

And, really, has anyone ever tasted the item at the top: law enforcement level pepper spray?

Using Peppers Productively

I use these peppers fresh. I used them baked. I even use them pickled — in salads, omelets, salsa, wraps, and tacos.

I bake stuffed cherry peppers with sausage in a red sauce and serve them over pasta.

I add them to stir-fries and chilies. Although pickled cherry peppers are often used for a condiment, they make great appetizers, too.

I core them and put in a single baby spinach leaf and some goat cheese for a winter holiday platter. Yum!

Where I live, I can’t pick fresh peppers from my garden all year round, so I freeze or pickle them to enjoy when my garden is sleeping.

Pickling Cherry Peppers

To pickle them, I follow the USDA canning recipe, which is part of a larger document featuring a plethora of possible items to preserve, from peppers to okra as well different recipes and techniques.

Too bad Peter Piper couldn’t visit this site! Of all the “P” veggies and plants, he’d probably still pick peppers from his garden — but he’d have more fun!

About the Author: Rachel Holierhoek is a Garden Expert and writer. See more from Rachel on her blog site.

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