Black Hungarian Pepper

In an effort to be more faithful about sharing variety-specific growing information on my garden selections, I will occasionally feature these varieties in their own posts.  Look for these posts to be compiled on a new page soon! 
Meet Black Hungarian, a little heirloom pepper that will have a permanent home in my garden for years to come.  The peppers may only be ever so slightly larger than an average jalapeno, but they have a lot going on, and little something for everyone.
From the beginning, Black Hungarian has been a looker.  The cotyledons, stem, and first true leaves on the seedlings had a dark purple/black tint to them, the blossoms are a beautiful shade of purple, and as soon as the little green peppers emerged from within the spent blossom, they started to take on a dark black color.  These super shiny black peppers have definitely added an interesting pop of color to the garden.
The plants (I had two of them in my backyard raised beds) grew a little taller and less full than most of the pepper plants, but I think this had more to do with some early season competition for light while the spinach was going to seed than anything else. They have been problem-free, healthy, sturdy plants that have set on a good yield.  
At this young stage, the peppers are mild and taste very similar to a green bell pepper (though every now and then you get just a tiny, barely detectable hint of heat).  The black color of the skin (flesh underneath is green) adds a little interest to chunky salsas and fresh garden salads.
But then something wonderful happens: the peppers start to turn a deep, vibrant shade of red.   Right now this is one my favorite plants in the garden - it's quite stunning with both black and red peppers! 
When the peppers turn red, the flavor really intensifies.  The flesh is deliciously sweet, like a luscious pimento-type sweet pepper, but then just a half-moment later, is followed by some real heat.  It's the perfect combination of sweet and hot pepper in one little package.
For an elongated chili pepper, it is surprisingly fleshy (not as much as a bell, but more than a jalapeno), which makes it a great choice for a number of applications.  If you don't mind a little heat, they are actually pretty good as fresh slices with a little dollop of sour cream or cream cheese.  They also add a nice dimension to salsas.  With their sweet heat, I also think they would make excellent pickled peppers or hot sauce, both of which I am hoping to do next season when I grow more than two plants!

Don't forget!  The Canning and Preserving for Beginners Giveaway is open through the end of the day on Sunday, September 15! 

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