A Guide to The Most Common Peppers Varieties & Their Uses

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Peppers are an extremely common vegetable, being used in a variety of different dishes and recipes. There are various types of peppers, all with their own unique tastes and characteristics. Although peppers are commonly used in cooking, many people are confused about the different types of peppers. What type of pepper works best in each situation, and when should you use one pepper over another? Let’s take at some of the most common pepper varieties and how they’re used in cooking. 

Habenero

An extremely common type of pepper you’ll like to encounter is the habanero pepper. Habaneros are a very spicy variation of pepper, but they are not the spiciest pepper you can find. On the Scoville scale, a habanero pepper will usually measure somewhere between 300,000-500,000 SHUs, depending on how the pepper was grown. Due to the high spice levels of habanero peppers, they are often used to add some medium heat to dishes. Additionally, you may want to look for products made from habanero peppers, such as habanero jelly.  Be careful, however, as you may need to dilute your dish when using habaneros, or you run the risk of making your dish too spicy. 

Cayenne

Cayenne pepper is a mildly hot pepper, usually measuring somewhere between 10,000-30,00 SHUs on the Scoville scale. The most common use of cayenne peppers is to create a powered spice that shares the same name. Cayenne is a very popular spice used in a variety of dishes and is a great way to add spice to a dish. Additionally, whole cayenne peppers can be utilized with other ingredients to infuse a little bit of spice. 

Jalapeno

Another extremely popular pepper is the jalapeno paper. Jalapenos are a mild type of pepper, usually ranging between between 4,000 and 8,000 Scoville heat units. Usually, the peppers are picked when they are still green, but when fully matured they turn red. Jalapenos are a great way to add a little kick to your recipe without going overboard, Jalapenos are relatively mild and shouldn’t overpower other flavors. If you want to add some flavor to a recipe but are serving people who don’t have the highest spice tolerance, jalapeno peppers are probably your best option.

Ghost Pepper

Previously the hottest pepper in the world the ghost pepper packs quite the punch. In 2007 the ghost pepper was verified as the hottest pepper in the world, clocking in at well over a million SHUs. To put that in comparison, a ghost pepper is almost 200 times as hot as your everyday hot sauce. Despite the extreme spiciness of the ghost pepper, it was eventually outdone by the Carolina Reaper pepper, the new hottest pepper in the world. Despite this, ghost peppers are still extremely spicy and should be handled with great caution. If you have an extremely high spice tolerance and think you can handle it, the ghost pepper is a great way to challenge yourself.  

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