Carbonero Chile Peppers
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Carbonero chile peppers are conical, diamond-shaped pods, averaging eight centimeters in length and four centimeters in width, and have deep folds, wrinkles, and creases that taper to a small point on the non-stem end. The skin ripens from green to bright orange when mature and is semi-smooth and waxy with a blistered, wrinkled surface. Underneath the surface, the thin flesh is crisp, aqueous, and pale orange-yellow, encasing a central cavity filled with elongated membranes and tiny, dark brown, round seeds, clustered within the membranes just beneath the stem. Carbonero chile peppers are crunchy and juicy with a tropical and light, floral scent. The peppers have a fruity, sweet flavor with notes of citrus, and have a hot level of spice that gradually builds in intensity and lingers on the tongue and in the throat.
Carbonero chile peppers are available in the summer through fall.
Carbonero chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum chinense, are brightly colored, wrinkled pods that grow on a compact plant reaching just over one meter in height and belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as Carbonero Orange chile peppers, Carbonero chile peppers are a hybrid variety developed by Tony Sherwood, a self-proclaimed “chile head” in Florida. Created first from a cross between the bhut jolokia carbon pepper and a yellow 7-pot pepper, and then crossing that pepper with an orange habanero, Carbonero chile peppers contain a hot level of heat that is comparable to a scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, averaging around 350,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. Carbonero chile peppers are favored for their sweet taste and lingering heat and are predominately grown in home gardens as a specialty variety for use in hot sauces and powders.
Carbonero chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps produce collagen within the body and boosts the immune system. The peppers also contain vitamin A, calcium, iron, and capsaicin, which is a chemical compound that gives the pepper its spicy nature and is known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Carbonero chile peppers can be used raw or cooked, but they should be used sparingly and with caution, as they are very spicy. The peppers also contain high amounts of capsaicin, which is an oil that can irritate the skin of the hands and in the mouth. To slightly reduce the heat, the inner ribs and seeds can be removed while wearing gloves as protection from the capsaicin. Carbonero chile peppers are most often used in hot sauces as a spicy condiment, or they can be sliced and mixed into stir-fries and soups. The peppers can also be roasted or baked, pureed, and then incorporated into marinades, salsas, and sauces for a sweet, smoky flavor. In addition to sauces, Carbonero chile peppers can be cooked into jellies and jams, or they can be pickled with cucumbers or other peppers for extended use. They can also be dried and ground into flakes or powder and used as a spice to add additional seasoning to pasta, tacos, noodle dishes, and cooked meats. Carbonero chile peppers pair well with fruits like mango, pineapple, or peaches, tomatoes, garlic, onions, and meats such as poultry, beef, and pork. The peppers will keep up to two weeks when loosely stored whole and unwashed in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Carbonero chile peppers won first place in the Gnarly Pod Contest in 2013, which is a competition that celebrates unique, spicy chiles. The Carbonero chile pepper was also a featured ingredient in Arthur Wayne’s Hot Sauce ‘Caribbean Fling.’ The hot sauce was created in 2015 and sold through 2016 as part of a partnership with the pepper’s creator. Arthur Wayne combined the hybrid peppers with scotch bonnets, St. Vincent island peppers, and pitaya for a spicy, tropical sauce. The motto for Arthur Wayne’s Hot Sauce is, “If it’s not hot, it’s not right.”
Carbonero chile peppers were created in 2012 by Tony “Pepper T” Sherwood in the state of Florida in the United States. The bright orange pepper was created from multiple crosses of the hot pepper varieties the bhut jolokia Indian carbon, a yellow 7-pot pepper, and an orange habanero. Today Carbonero chile peppers are rarely found at supermarkets and farmers markets. The specialty peppers are more commonly found through online seed catalogs for home gardeners and are grown by chile enthusiasts in Europe, the United States, and Australia.
Recipes that include Carbonero Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
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