Ripe / Red Cayenne Peppers (Finger Chili Peppers)

In Albums: food peppers produce

Long, narrow, straight, red chili peppers

Feb 27th, 2011, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows ripe cayenne peppers. I have seen the green (unripe) varieties of these chili peppers for sale, usually labeled as "medium chili" or "finger chili". Indian groceries typically sell the green variety but not the red ones. Because most people associate the name "cayenne pepper" with the red, powdered version of the dried hot pepper of this variety, people usually do not think of the green chilis as cayenne peppers, and even these ripe chilis, stores seem less likely to label as such. These were for sale at the Newark, Delaware farmer's market.

These ripe, red peppers bear little resemblance to their green counterparts. Their flavor is very sweet, like a red bell pepper. They have significant heat but I find they actually tend to be a bit milder than their green counterparts. Their aroma is more fruity and mild, with few of the fresh tones characteristic of the green peppers.

When I have the opportunity to buy both green and red varieties, I buy both as they have completely different flavors and uses. One can sometimes find green peppers that are beginning to ripen, with an orangish color; these have characteristics intermediate between the red and green.