Manzano Peppers: in album produce
|May 26th, 2011, by Alex Zorach|
These Manzano peppers were for sale at the Newark, Delaware farmer's market for the price of $5.99. These peppers are only occasionally available at this market, and are always expensive. I was intrigued by this pepper's high price, and bought one out of curiosity and researched it.
Manzano peppers come from the Capsicum pubescens species of pepper, which is more distantly related to the three species of pepper, C. annum, C. frutescens, and C. chinense, which encompass most of the common varieties of peppers used in food.
I find these peppers to be very different from other peppers. Their flesh is soft and very sweet, like bell peppers, and tangy. Their flavor, however, is alien and not particularly food-like. The flesh itself has no noticeable heat, but the membrane and seeds are extremely hot. This creates flexibility, as one can use them as a sweet pepper or a hot pepper, depending on whether or not one removes the seeds and membrane. The aroma of this pepper is very different from other peppers. Although it is identifiable as pepper-like, it is deeper, more herbaceous, and a bit harsher and less inviting (although perhaps that is just because I found it very unfamiliar). I have found it hard to find good uses for this pepper, as it is a bit outside my zone of culinary expertise and it does not mesh well with the foods I am accustomed to preparing, but perhaps with time I will learn how to appreciate it more fully.
In the past, I have come to love a number of foods like this which initially struck me as bizarre or alien.