Hungarian Green Pepper
Whole Fresh Chilis [Zöldpaprika; Capsicum. annuum]

Many Hungarian and Romanian recipes published in English call for "Green Pepper". This pepper is what is meant, not green bell peppers which have much heavier walls and a different and much stronger flavor.

These peppers have very little or even no heat and are sold here in Southern California simply as "Hungarian Peppers". Hotter versions are also used in Hungary and Romania. Those are sold here as "Banana Peppers" or "Yellow Wax Peppers". The photo specimens, purchased at a large multi-ethnic produce market in Los Angeles. The big one at the top was 9.8 inches long and 2.1 inches diameter. Chilis do not get hotter as they turn color.

These peppers, originating in the Americas, were brought to Hungary by the Turks a bit prior to CE 1550. They are used, often along with Tomatoes, "when in season". For the off season they are canned with tomatoes in a mix called Lecso. Of course, here in Southern California they are "in season" year round.

More on Chili Peppers.

These peppers are easily available year around in Southern California, but there are also suitable substitutes. Those sold as "Armenian" or "Turkish" peppers are very similar, though shorter in shape. If nothing else is available, green Italian peppers can be used, but are very different in shape, which may make them unsuitable for some recipes.

Buying:   Be aware! Naming practice may vary in different regions, so always check for hotness before using. Any hotness in the sweet Hungarians is up at the cap end and will be slight. Look for unblemished peppers with no soft spots. If your recipe doesn't depend on color those starting to turn orange will still work, though the flavor may be slightly sweeter and less sharp.

Cooking:   Don't overcook.

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