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I'm planning next years garden, and want to know what the most culinary flexible pepper to plant would be.

I plan on using peppers for canning & chili.

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Questions is subjective: this depends on what you like to cook. –  Adam Shiemke Jul 19 '10 at 22:56
    
I noted for canning and chili. –  Präriewolf Jul 20 '10 at 2:23
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3 Answers 3

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A very flexible pepper that is also good for canning is the hungarian pepper. It allows for a good usage in fresh, uncooked dishes. Additionally it sautes well, goes great in salsas, bakes well, is great roasted, or just eaten on its own (ok, that may be a bit much for most people). For canning my mother-in-law does it in different varieties with sweeter peppers, hotter peppers, a dill blend, and a savory blend and it's also a terrific relish once brought out of the canning.

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Growing peppers of the proper heat level I think will be the most important.

If you like a lot of spice and grow Jalapeno peppers, then everything is going to taste like Jalapeno because you have to use a lot to get your desired heat level.

If you have the appropriate heat level pepper, then a little goes a long way in a dish and you will feel it much more than you taste it.

Here is a page with a nice list of peppers with ratings from the Scoville Scale (also explained on the page) http://ushotstuff.com/Heat.Scale.htm

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Unless you're really space limited, why not grow several varieties of peppers? I've never regretted having access to more options.

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Some areas have plant exchanges -- there's one in Brandywine, MD each year -- you bring what you've sprouted, and take home what you'd like from what other people have brought ... so you can get an opportunity to try lots of different things. Check around with gardening collectives and such in your area -- you might find something similar. Oh -- and my step father grows peppers in large flower pots ... they line the side of his driveway, as he probably has a dozen or more, so just because you don't have soil to grow in doesn't mean you don't have space. –  Joe Jul 20 '10 at 0:18
    
I'm only planting them as companions for other plants, and figure I should be able to use them. Jalapenos seem to show up in tons of recipes so I'll just grow those. –  Präriewolf Jul 20 '10 at 19:28
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