Both pepperoncini and banana peppers are a vibrant greenish yellow color, filled to the brim with a mild by delightful zing.
There are peppers so spicy that they will make you want to suck down half a gallon of milk, but not these.
These gentle, fleshy peppers instead flood your taste buds with a gentle sweet and spicy taste that is just a delight.
Similarly, both of these peppers do well when pickled too, however, pepperoncini peppers are the more ideal option for pickling.
So, what’s the difference between these? They seem very similar, yes?
Time to be surprised!
Understanding Pepperoncini Peppers
Let’s first look at pepperoncini peppers. These peppers were originally grown in North Europe and are actually a popular addition to some Italian cuisine.
If you leave them on their vine as they grow, they will end up turning a beautiful red color.
Do note that if you wish to grow these, the longer that they are ripening for, the thinner their flesh will be.
However, if you do want a crunch with impressive moisture for excellent pickling, then you are best to pick them when they are a vibrant green color.
A majority of these peppers will get pickled when they are bright green or are starting to go a more yellow color.
What Are They?
In a sense the pepperoncini peppers are essentialy as small as a tiny carrot, in the same sense of what a bell pepper is to an apple.
It is basically just a thin pepper, which is a mere few inches in size.
Often pickled whole, their shape does make them tricky to cut or to put into a salad or pot for cooking. However, if you do the extra prep you will get a great pepper with so much pepper and only a dash of heat flung in.
So, where does it sit on the scoville heat scale? Well, for a start this way of rating chilies was built thanks to some dedicated tasters.
Although the more current way of measuring heat does have additional research behind it beyond just enthusiastic tasters, it still kept the name.
Experts in spice who are in the Monterey Bay Spice Company do make it a bit easier for us all to know the peppers that will give you a gentle kick in the back of your throat, and which ones will hurt and make you cry and question your life choices.
Pepperoncini are actually one of the most mild peppers there are. They sit only above bell peppers on the scale.
For reference, their rating is 100-500, while Jalapeños are at 2,500 to 8,000.they are 10 times less heated than Tabasco, and 100 times less spicy than cayenne peppers are.
So, they are hardly hot, but they are delicious.
Benefits Of Eating Them
Perhaps you are wondering if these delicious but mild peppers are good for your health? Well, it is actually dependent on how you prepare them.
Raw pepperoncini will only provide you with 10 calories, but will also give you 45 milligrams of vitamin C, which is necessary for our bodies to maintain the health of our cells and to be able to absorb other important nutrients.
That being said, these peppers are often pickled, which does bring sugar and salt to the equation.
So, what is your recommended daily helping of sodium? Well, you should only have 2,300 milligrams, or less. And, a singular pepperoncini when pickled can add in 600 milligrams of sodium. So, 4 pickled pepperoncinis would have you over your daily amount.
But, if you are trying to shed the pounds, they are a great food to add some spice into your diet, and heat is a great suppressant for appetite.
However, while some spice can suppress your appetite, it can bring about discomfort and inflammation in your digestive system too.
If you are a nursing mom, you should also avoid any capsaicin as well, as it can be passed on through your breast milk to the baby.
Use & Prep
There are countless available recipes for pepperoncinis to be pickled, and many of these are doable with just your refrigerator and very little effort.
However, if you do not like pickled peppers, or the work that comes with it, you could always try out a tasty pot roast that makes use of these tasty peppers.
If you prefer peppers when they are not pickled, or you are cautious of your sodium intake then enjoy them with a little care and prep raw.
Here is a simple few recipe ideas for you to try out:
- Wear latex gloves. Always rinse the gloves when you are wearing them. This is simply to prevent you from getting any dust anywhere it shouldn’t be. While these peppers aren’t hot, the seeds and veins are the hottest part of the vegetable, and you will be touching them.
- When you make a salad, soup or stew always slide through a side of this pepper and remove its ends, making it easier to clear seeds and veins. Then rinse your pepper, and cut it as you wish.
- Enjoy a bacon sprinkle or bacon recipe. Leaving the ends on, but slicing it open to remove the seeds and veins you can before you stuff it full of bacon, cream cheese and so on.
Next we will look at banana peppers, the similar but very different other pepper.
What Are They?
Banana peppers are named so for their shape, which is much like a banana in its curve. They are thin and long which is generally mostly straight and is also very smooth for a pepper.
Much like a majority of peppers, they were first grown in the Americas, yet have now gone worldwide thanks to how well they grow and their delicious flavor.
These are a very popular pepper filing for sandwiches with an extra something special. You should be aware that not all banana peppers are made equal though, some are more heated than others.
Ideally, you want to taste a less hot version before you delve into the deeper end.
If you want to grow them yourself, they are pretty easy to grow. You can also grow them indoors if your climate is not ideal. They will need around 2 months to mature as a plant.
As for pepper stuffing, the banana pepper is superior to the pepperoncini in this regard. They do have their straightness, smoothness and thicker walls to thank for this.
Pepperoncinis are more likely to split during the process of baking them, but banana peppers do better under the heat of your oven.
So, what about their heat? Are they above or below pepperoncinis?
Actually, banana peppers are low on the scoville rating, they are even a bit less than pepperoncinis. However, like with most, they still hold heat in their seeds and veins.
So, if you want to clean a banana pepper out, and enjoy them when they are fresh you should still use gloves.
It won’t hurt your skin as hotter peppers will, however, the heat can transfer.
Nothing is worse than rubbing your eyes, only to put capsaicin in there and make everything a very teary, burning situation. Similarly, those who are caring for children, or who wear contacts should be very mindful of this.
We know about pepperoncini, but what about the health benefits of banana peppers?
Well, a single cup of cut up banana peppers will have 33 calories.
Let us not forget their nutritional values as well. They have a very hefty dose of vitamins K, C, and A, and they are also high in fiber, so your gut will thank you for them.
Much like with pepperoncini, even though they do not come with heavy heat, their heat can aid those who are trying to shed the pounds.
This works as it raises your temperature, and increases the efforts in your body to maintain your lungs and heart doing their job.
One other thing many people do not know is that raw non-fat or low-fat food is also a fantastic way to decrease cholesterol and save your arteries and veins from a build up of plaque.
Uses & Prep
Banana peppers when they are fresh and yellow will have a very stout cell wall and can easily tolerate being stuffed.
However, if you intend on feeding the whole family with banana peppers, you’re going to need loads of them, as they do not exactly come with oodles of room inside of them.
Here are some ideas on what to do with your banana peppers:
- Consider stuffing your banana peppers with a spiced sausage filling after having steamed your peppers. Doing so will soften them gently and reduce any possibility of them cracking as you split them to put the stuffing inside. Having a spicy sausage mix inside this pepper can make it a meal with a tasty bite to it.
- You could pair a spicy dish like the one aforementioned with a cool side, perhaps a mayo based dish like as a potato salad, perhaps pair them with a ranch dressing to even it out? Spicy sausage goes well with these peppers.
What We Think
Peppers are popular all over the world, and although not every person has the taste buds to deal with a hot pepper, banana peppers and pepperoncinis can be cooled down, or heated up in many ways.
What we do know, however, is that if you would like a pepper to stuff, banana peppers are the way to go. But, if you prefer raw or even pickled peppers, then pepperoncinis are the peppers for you.
Remember, finally, that if you grow or buy, the main difference between these peppers is the thickness of which the skin is at.
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