Beaver Dam Chile Peppers
Inventory, lb : 0
Beaver Dam chile peppers are large, conical pods, averaging 15 to 23 centimeters in length and six centimeters in width, and have broad shoulders with a tapered shape that may curve as it lengthens. The skin is smooth and taut, maturing from a bright, lime green hue to a deep red, and the pepper can be harvested at any stage of maturity. Underneath the surface, the flesh is crisp, thick, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with large ribs and many round, cream-colored seeds. Beaver Dam chile peppers have a slightly sweet flavor mixed with a mild to moderate level of heat that slowly builds in intensity.
Beaver Dam chile peppers are available in the summer through fall.
Beaver Dam chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are a European heirloom variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Smuggled into the United States by Hungarian immigrants over one hundred years ago, Beaver Dam chile peppers were named after the town in Wisconsin where they were first grown. Beaver Dam chile peppers are a mild to moderately spiced variety, ranging 500-1,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, and are considered to be very rare. Due to the influx of easier to grow hybrid peppers with improved resistance to disease and durability, Beaver Dam chile peppers were once so scarce that they were listed on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste, which is a compilation of over eight hundred endangered varieties that are highlighted to raise awareness and prevent extinction. Today the pepper is still somewhat rare, but through the efforts of marketing campaigns and festivals, Beaver Dam chile peppers are gaining a small amount of notoriety and are favored for their mild heat and sweet flavor.
Beaver Dam chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamins B6 and A. They also contain minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and copper, and flavonoids that have beneficial antioxidant properties and essential nutrients like niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.
Beaver Dam chile peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as baking, roasting, grilling, and stir-frying. When raw, the peppers can be chopped and added to pastas, pizza, soups, stews, sandwiches, and Hungarian goulash, or they can be tossed into salads. Beaver Dam chile peppers are also popularly blended into hot sauces, salsas, marinades, and kimchi, baked into scones, cooked into jellies, or pickled for extended use. In addition to raw preparations, the moderate spice will mellow out in cooked applications, while still maintaining the flavor of the pepper. The peppers can be roasted or grilled whole, stuffed with meats, cheeses, and rice, or lightly stir-fried with other vegetables for added flavor. Beaver Dam chile peppers pair well with meats such as ground beef, poultry, or pork, tomatoes, onions, garlic, bell pepper, zucchini, cucumber, and herbs such as parsley, cilantro, and dill. The peppers will keep 1-2 weeks when stored fresh, whole, and unwashed in the refrigerator.
In 2011 in the United States, Lee Greene, founder of The Scrumptious Pantry based in Chicago, Illinois, found the Beaver Dam chile pepper on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste and chose them as the ingredient for her first product, pickled peppers. She found a farmer ten miles outside of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, who was growing a few plants and made it a personal project to increase the pepper’s popularity by using it in her products. In addition to pickled peppers, Greene partnered with chefs and restaurants to organize centennial celebrations for the pepper in Chicago and Milwaukee. Beaver Dam, Wisconsin also hosts an annual festival in September to celebrate the pepper’s local connection and history. Festival activities include the biggest pepper contest, an apple pepper pie eating contest, and a chili cook-off.
Beaver Dam chile peppers were first brought to the United States by the Hungarian Hussli family who immigrated to Wisconsin in 1912 and settled in the town of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, seventy-five miles northeast of Milwaukee. There, the family cultivated the peppers and shared them with friends and family in the area, eventually leading to local farmers growing the variety and naming it after its hometown. Beaver Dam chile peppers can be spotted at local stores in Milwaukee and nearby Chicago and may be spotted at farmer’s markets through local growers in the United States.