The cherry pepper is an adorable pepper type that looks just like a cherry with bright red flesh and a smooth, round shape.
It’s great for growing and eating as it has a dense, fresh spicy flavour just like the jalapeño.
If you’re thinking of growing or cooking with these cute little peppers, it’s handy to know more about them.
From origins, to growing tips and cooking tips, here’s everything you need to know about the cherry pepper plant:
Cherry Peppers – What are they?
The Cherry Pepper also known as the Cherry Chili, chili tomato, cherry bomb or Hungarian cherry pepper and is a fantastic chili to grow. It can be used to replace a pimento chilli, although pimentos are hotter.
The mild to hot cherry pepper is commercially grown in the USA, Europe and Mexico and its cultivation records go back as far back as 1543.
Appearance & Heat
The peppers produced by these plants are small and round, they resemble a cherry tomato. Peppers tend to range from mild to hot and register 5000-8000 scoville scale units.
The cherry peppers grow a dark green colour and as they ripen they will change to a very vibrant red which makes them truly spectacular to grow.
There are different types of cherry peppers in cultivation which are slightly different in how they taste. One is generally softer than the other in texture, and both are sweet, spicy and quite crunchy overall. Both types of cherry pepper put out a great level of juiciness which makes them delicious as a pickled or sliced pepper, but not suitable for drying.
Common Cuisine Use
The chili tomato is commonly used in Asian, Southwestern, Mediterranean, Portuguese, African and Mexican cuisine because of the size and shape. This chili is also a great garnish and really puts some colour into food, especially salads.
These chilies are also great for stuffing or picking because of the thick fruit walls and round shape. Due to the thick walls, though, this chili type cannot be dried.
Growing Tips For Cherry Pepper Cultivation
As with most chili’s this plant enjoys hot climates, well drained soil and generous amounts of water. Maturity takes approximately 120 days. These plants can mature and fruit at a small size so they are great for a small bench or windowsill.
Those who live in a flat or apartment may particularly appreciate the growing ease and size of the cherry pepper plant.
Because they are only around 40cm in height they take up no space at all and they can be purchased for as little as $6 dollars or less in some places.
Although you may only get one fruit a week from one plant, it’s certainly a great kitchen windowsill or balcony plant to have if you want to try some urban gardening.
How To Eat Cherry Pepper Fruits
As we mentioned above, there are multiple uses for the cherry pepper fruits and how to cook with them. Because of their size, it’s important to use the fruit efficiently so as not to waste the heat or flavour, especially if you are growing your own.
They sit at about 5,000 on the Scoville Scale so they are suitable for many dishes, especially if you find a jalapeño (8,000 SHU) too spicy.
To help you eat these yummy chillies we’ve got some great recipes for you to try below:
Cherry Pepper Layered Sandwich
Taking inspiration from sandwich expert Max Halley, we love this layered sandwich featuring the cherry pepper:
- Pickled cherry peppers
- Any deli meat such as beef or turkey
- Little gem lettuce leaves
- Sundried tomato spread
- Cucumber slices
- Garlic aioli
- Toasted sourdough
As you can see, there are no ingredient amounts above. You simply construct the sandwich to the girth you like, creating a yummy, spicy sandwich anybody will love.
Cherry Pepper Vegan Wrap
If you are one of the 7.3 veggies, of which many are vegan in the US right now, you might want to match your cherry peppers with a delicious no-meat substitute. Here’s a delicious cherry pepper vegan wrap to try:
- One thick wrap such as naan
- Homemade tahini sauce (1 TBSP tahini, 1 TBSP lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, salt pepper and extra water to taste)
- Sliced cherry peppers to taste
- Any lettuce leaves
- One thinly sliced tomato
- One thinly sliced inch or two of cucumber
- Half a red onion sliced
- Warm falafel or homemade seitan (or even chickpeas if you like)
Warm up your naan or wrap, throw on your ingredients (adding more or less of any you like) and get stuck in!
Hot Pepper Jam
If you want to conserve your cherry peppers, making a jam out of them will make them last longer, and enable you to enjoy them with multiple meals this way too.
- 2 ripe red peppers (bell)
- 4-6 hot cherry peppers
- ¼ cup clean water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1 ½ cups organic brown sugar
- 2 TBSP pectin
- Sterilise three standard jars with lids (make sure they are suitable for hot liquids)
- Deseed and chop both pepper types and put them into a saucepan with the water and vinegar
- Whilst the mixture is heating up, mix two TBSP of the sugar with the pectin in a cup and pour it into the pan
- Allow the mixture to boil and stir (do not stop stirring)
- Add the rest of the sugar
- Place the jelly into the jars leaving a couple of centimetres at the top
- Wipe any excess from the jars and then place the lids
- Allow the jars to cool to room temperature then place the jam in the fridge
The mixture will stay fresh for three weeks in the fridge and works well with sandwiches, meat dishes, with hot pie, as a barbecue relish and even as a base for meat marinades.
How Will You Enjoy Your Cherry Peppers?
Now you know all about these cute, yummy fruits, how will you add more of them to your life?
Whether you grow them, cook with them (or both) you’re sure to enjoy the sweet, spicy flavour of cherry peppers in your home kitchen.