Pepperoncini Vs. Banana Pepper: What Is The Difference?
Every day is a new experience and a new chance. Every day we see something new, and we learn something. So you never know what you will find out at the next corner.
In my experience, fascinating details come from the little things that we pass by every day. I want to share with you the great facts I found out about veggies that we all use often.
As you all know cooking is my passion, so my preparations happen at the local grocery store.
I love walking on the part of the store where they store veggies and fruits. I don’t know why, I guess the colors hypnotize me and make my imagination start combining them in various ways.
My children insisted on making something spicy, so what else would I take other than pepper?
At that moment I couldn’t decide between pepperoncini and banana pepper, and it came to me – What is the difference between pepperoncini and banana pepper?
While I thought a kind lady that worked in the store asked me if she can help. So I shared with her the question that was bugging me.
She looked at me and smiled. She said that I asked a complicated question.
She stated that they are practically the same, that even some professionals who produce them sometimes have trouble telling them apart.
Since I could not leave it at that, it was time for me to do some serious work. I had to find out what is the difference between pepperoncini and banana pepper!
I can’t wait to share with you the interesting facts and details that I found out.
The Ancient Roots
Peperoncino or plural peperoncini can also be spelled pepperoncino and pepperoncini, so all these names refer to the same species.
Columbus’ discovery of America or then known as the New World in 1492 meant a lot.
Besides the new culture, new people, new fruits, and veggies were discovered. Some of the veggies were pepperoncino, which came to Italy at the beginning of the 16th century.
Can you believe that at first, people thought that pepperoncini were possibly poisonous?
So in the beginning, they only used it as a decorative veggie. Also, it was used by the lower class, because it was cheap and convenient.
That's why it was not in any cookbooks before 1694.The cookbooks were made for the rich people.
The first time it was used in a cookbook it was in a recipe for Salsa. The Salsa was made out of chopped pepperoncini, slices of tomatoes, onion and all that was mixed with peppermint, oil, and salt.
Banana peppers are not the only name that refers to this sort of pepper, a member of the chili pepper family. There are two more names – yellow wax pepper and banana chill.
The chili pepper family originated from America, but banana pepper did not stay only on this territory; it made its way trough, and it is now used all over the world. It is a persuasion of Capsicum annum species.
The Introduction Of Pepperoncini
When it comes to size, pepperoncini grow up to 2 to 3 inches, so they are medium size.
Peppers are usually colored differently, and their color varies from green to yellow to red, so pepperoncini is not an exception. It usually starts from green, really light green and then ripens to a red color. But the majority of pepperoncini is green.
You can find pepperoncini almost everywhere.
But if you like gardening and eat peppers in huge amounts you should give growing pepperoncini by yourself a try. Just turn a part of your backyard to a beautiful garden. If necessary, a little fence can be built for the garden with just a drill device, some screws, and some pieces of woods.
You can find pepperoncini seeds in the local garden shop or online, and they are not too expensive. And taking care and harvesting pepperoncini is not so hard. You only have to water them once a week, and their maturation takes 70 days.
The Benefits Of Eating Pepperoncini
First of all, pepperoncini contain vitamin C, and this vitamin is essential for our immune system. This vitamin protects us from getting cold, and it can also prevent cell damage.
But there is one thing that you have to know: cooking will destroy the Vitamin C in the pepperoncini, so if you want the highest level of vitamin C, you should eat pepperoncini uncooked or should I say raw.
It is also filled with vitamin A, and as we were told as kids this vitamin is good for our eyesight. This helpful vitamin makes our night vision better, and it makes a good impact on the health of our teeth and skin.
I also found out that this vitamin can reduce the risk of our children getting measles and diarrhea. So, I give pepperoncino to my kids as much as I can.
Pepperoncini is not only filled with vitamins – it is also filled with iron. That is a mineral that we need each day. It helps our cells to grow and delivers oxygen through our whole body. If we do not have iron in our bodies, we are in danger to get infections.
A single pepperoncino also contains 1g of fiber. Fiber can help you with making your immune system stronger and resistant to some serious conditions like heart disease or diabetes. It also helps with digestion and makes you feel fuller after eating, aiding in weight loss.
There are other ways in which it can help with weight loss. It contains plenty of Capsaicin, which promotes the burning of fat deposits and further raises your metabolism rate. Capsaicin also helps with chronic or acute pain management.
Now it is time to learn something about the banana pepper!
The Veggie That Looks Like A Banana
The look of the banana pepper is not so hard to explain.
A mature pepper will be around 2 to 3 inches long, and it is usually curve-shaped.
The color is usually yellow. This was the part when I realized where the name comes from – it looks like a banana!
Just like pepperoncini, you can find it and buy it almost everywhere.
But if you like gardening you can grow it yourself. You can grow plants from seed or cuttings. They can grow in almost every climate, but they do prefer warmer weather. They can be a bit more difficult to grow than pepperoncini.
You can take them off the plant once they are nicely firm and yellow, but you can wait until they grow orange or even red before taking them off. It all depends on what you want to use them for. If you want to pickle them, take them off as soon as possible.
Why Is Banana Pepper Good For You
Just like pepperoncini, banana pepper contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron. But there are some vitamins that I also have to mention because they are really good for you.
Banana pepper has many varieties of Vitamin B, and they are all important in releasing energy from carbohydrates. This makes them useful for speeding up your metabolism and losing weight.
It also has magnesium that we need in our growing process. And magnesium is essential for pregnant women. This pepper is also filled with calcium, and our bones need calcium.
So far, this makes things more clear.
The Differences Between Pepperoncini And Banana Pepper
Now it is time to sum up everything that we learned so far and add something new.
Even tough they come from the same family, and some people find it hard to tell them apart, there are some differences.
When you say pepper, the first thing that comes to my mind is hot. So there are some differences in the heat of these two peppers.
For measuring the heat of the pepper, we use the Scoville scale. The pepperoncini are between 100 and 500 SHU, banana pepper is ranged between 0 to 500 SHU.
They both have the same size, usually, from 2 to 3 inches and the colors are pretty much the same. And their nutrition value is almost the same because they have same roots.
So how do we tell them apart?
Firstly their skin has some similarities, but there are visual differences. While the banana pepper tends to be smooth, it is baby-faced as some people say. Pepperoncini tend to have bends and are more wrinkly.
Their shape will also help you see which one is pepperoncini and which one is banana pepper. Banana peppers are shaped more like a banana – they are pointier, while pepperoncini have bulbous ends.
And now we came to the part of using banana pepper and pepperoncini in the kitchen.
But there is one big difference between these two that is important in cooking.
Banana peppers have thicker walls so they can be stuffed with a variety of things, while pepperoncini have thin skin so they can’t be stuffed. However, their thin skin makes them more suitable for pickling, but both species can be pickled if you want.
They can both also be used in various more extravagant recipes. Banana peppers can be used in ice cream, for example, because of their sweetness. Peppers in ice cream? Yes, it is possible!
Pepperoncini can’t be used in ice cream, due to their taste and hardness, but they are great in appetizers and garnish salad due to their crunchiness.
But both peppers can be eaten raw.
That’s when you’ll notice one of the most pertinent differences between the two – the difference in taste. Banana peppers are more on the sweet and tangy side, but pepperoncini also have a tinge of bitterness to them, making them more suitable for certain dishes.
These differences in taste even out if they are pickled and you can freely used pickled banana peppers as a replacement for pickled pepperoncini and vice-versa.
Of course, those are just the basic differences in taste. There are various cultivars of both species that differ further.
Some of the most popular cultivars of banana peppers are Hungarian Yellow Wax, Sweet Hungarian, Bananarama, and so on. They differ in the amount of sweetness they offer as well as their textures.
There are less cultivars of pepperoncini, but they still exist. One of the most popular ones is The Golden Greek, which is not as bitter as the Italian variant.
Whether you put pepperoncini or banana pepper on your plate, you will not regret it.
There aren't many differences between these two, except skin details, but in the end, they are both healthy and carry almost the same nutritional values.
Now, I think I am going to make a salad with pepper. 🙂
After I learned that it was so good for me, I don't think one day will pass without me eating it.
Until next time!