Cherry Pepper Chili Variety
Its special shape and an intense paprika aroma make this pepper variety the number one worldwide when it comes to stuffed chillies. In Italy the round chilli is often filled with cream cheese. Tuna cream is also extremely delicate. We prefer spicy cream fillings in pickled pods from our own cultivation.
There are several varieties that deserve the name cherry pepper or cherry chili. A chili variety of the Capsicum annuum Art is common. Since there are other chillies which look very similar to the cherry, you will find more than just a worthy representative.
Among the berry-like Capsicum baccatum plants there are some varieties with roundish fruits. This species originally comes from the area of present-day Peru. It likes constant temperatures around 20 °C (68 °F). Its fruits taste slightly less sweet, but still have the typical paprika taste.
On the bushy Capsicum frutescens, fruits with an egg-shaped appearance are rarely formed. Yellow cherry chilli, for example, is a worthy representative of this genus. The best known Capsicum frutescens Chili you certainly know as Tabasco.
Cherry paprika usually means a variety from Hungary. These are then “annual” Capsicum annuum varieties. Annuum or Annual means yearly, their chili plants are usually older than two years when wintered indoors.
The plants grow vigorously and soon reach a height of 60 to 70 cm (~2 feet). This and a good crop yield make them perfect for growing on the terrace. It takes up little space and will make a powerful impression on chili novices. People who are not used to pungency can also handle the mild cherry chillies quite well.
Their fruits can reach considerable proportions. 5 cm are not rare.
On average, the red chillies have a diameter of about 2–3 cm. The flesh is very thick and tastes intensely like paprika. A refreshing pinch of acidity is added.
Paprika has been cultivated in Hungary since the 16th century. Hardly any other nation has made such a name for itself in paprika breeding over generations. They were probably the ones who turned chillies into a sweet pepper.
Chillies did not reach Europe until 1493, after Christophorus Columbus discovered America a year earlier. In the next 50 years chillies spread to Africa, China, Italy and Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was quite keen on an occupation of Hungary. There were many wars in which sooner or later some chili seeds had to change sides and took root in Hungary.
A popular variety created by Hungarian chili growers is the “Sweet Cherry” cherry pepper.
Sharpness and Scoville
Depending on the variety, cherry peppers have a degree of sharpness between 2 and 5. Measured in Scoville, this corresponds to 500–3,500 Scoville. The high range of spiciness is due to various subspecies of this pepper variety. Sweet Cherry has about 500 Scoville, while the bushy yellow cherry easily reaches 3,000 SHU. Almost all varieties are milder than Jalapenos.
Usually a sharpness of 5 at 3,000 Scoville is achieved with the ripe pods of cherry pepper plants.
We love stuffed cherry chillies as antipasti. Delicious stuffed with tuna, cheese or cream cheese with herbs and horseradish. Pickled in olive oil, the pods taste fantastic. Homemade pickled chillies from our own cultivation are the highlight. If you haven’t been able to harvest any yet: in most supermarkets you can get the popular Italian starter in the refrigerated section.
Cherry Peppers plant
The plants reach a size of 50–70 cm within half a year. For this the plant needs a sufficiently large pot. For cherry Chilis we use plant buckets in 10 litres. Otherwise, too much potential is wasted on harvests. In autumn, we place the plant together with the tub in a bright room. This allows us to pick healthy pods into the winter.
Chili plants require a sunny place in the garden. The plants feel at home on a south-facing house wall. A raised bed or on top of a spiral of herbs would also be an ideal cultivation area.
For the cultivation of chillies on the balcony we prefer smaller Capsicum annuum varieties. Chili plants that do not grow much larger than 60 cm are ideal for flower boxes. As houseplant, we use Capsicum baccatum plants. In their native Peru, unusually constant temperatures around 20 °C prevail due to the proximity of the sea and the mountains in the back. Just like in our study. There the plants are under artificial light.
Growing from seeds
You start the cultivation already in February. At the latest 6 weeks before 15 May. That would be the beginning of April. If you have missed the time, you will often get chili plants in the DIY store or mail order.
You can get cherry pepper seeds in every garden center, which offer a little more choice. Often these are Hungarian F1 pepper varieties with a slight pungency. F1 Hybrids is a cross of the first generation. These are particularly productive and robust. In special online shops for chilli seeds you can quickly order a handful of pure chilli seeds.
A reliable method of growing chili seeds is in a heated greenhouse. Coconut source tabs are easy to use as a growing substrate and offer good conditions. If the temperature of your growing greenhouse is adjustable, temperatures around 25 °C are perfect. After soaking in lukewarm water, the seeds are planted half a centimeter deep. After 8 to 14 days you will see the seedlings germinate.
If more cotyledons form next to the first two, you can repot the young plants and let them grow on a bright windowsill.
Chilis like it warm and sunny. In the dark winter months, plant lamps help to stimulate growth. Room temperature should not be below 18°C.
A loose soil enriched with a little fertilizer ensures healthy growth. We have already written about different soils in another article. Tomatoes Soils are a good choice for paprika plants. Both are nightshade plants with similar pH and soil requirements.
Please also read the article on the correct watering of chili plants.
From the day the flowers are pollinated, it takes about 80 days for the green pods to change colour. If the cherry chillies are completely red or yellow, wait another 5 days until you harvest the fruit. In the last few days many aromas are developed and their sweetness increases significantly. If there is more time to form fructose, the peppers are sweeter.
Cherry chillies taste best freshly harvested in salads. Also, very tasty: head the peppers, remove seeds with a spoon or knife to a large extent and fill with a spicy cream.
|Variety name||Cherry pepper|
|Plant size||60 - 70cm|
|Maturing time||80 days|
|Sharpness level||5 (3,000 Scoville)|
|Germination period||8 - 14 days|
|Germination temperature||22 - 28 °C|
|Planting distance||min. 70 cm|