Chinese Five Color Chile Peppers
Inventory, lb : 0
Chinese Five Color chile peppers are small and short pods, averaging 2 to 5 centimeters in length, and have a conical shape that tapers to a rounded point. The smooth skin is glossy and waxy, ranging in an array of colors from purple when young, transitioning to white, yellow, orange, and finally to red when mature. The five colors are typically all present on the plant at one time throughout the season. Underneath the surface, the flesh is moderately thick, crisp, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with many round and flat, cream-colored seeds. Chinese Five Color chile peppers have a sweet, bitter, and earthy flavor followed by an intense heat that dissipates quickly and does not linger.
Chinese Five Color chile peppers are available in the late summer through fall. In warmer climates, the plants may also be grown indoors in the winter.
Chinese Five Color chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are an heirloom variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Native to China, the small peppers are named for the five different, showy colors that are displayed at various stages of maturity. Also known as Chinese Multi-Color peppers, Chinese Five Color chile peppers are primarily an ornamental variety that is favored for its dark purple-green foliage and brightly colored pods. Though considered an ornamental, Chinese Five Color chile peppers are also edible and contain a moderate to hot level of spice, ranging 5,000-30,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. Chinese Five Color chile peppers are popularly used in homemade hot sauces.
Chinese Five Color chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamins C and A, which are antioxidants to help build collagen and boost immunity, and contain some potassium, magnesium, and iron. The peppers also contain capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that triggers the brain to feel heat or spice and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Chinese Five Color chile peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as boiling, stir-frying, and roasting. The small peppers can be diced into salsas, salads, and dips, stuffed with cheese and meats, or blended into hot sauces for use as a condiment. They can also be chopped into soups, stews, and curries, lightly stir-fried with vegetables for added heat, or roasted in a small amount of olive oil and served as a spicy side dish for braised meats. In addition to fresh preparations, Chinese Five Color chile peppers can be pickled with onions and garlic, preserving the heat as well as the colors of the peppers. They can also be dried and ground into a powder, used as a spice over pizza, casseroles, drinks, and chilis. Chinese Five Color chile peppers pair well with tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, meats such as beef, pork, duck, and poultry, seafood, lentils, rice, soy sauce, avocado, and coconut milk. The peppers will keep up to one week when loosely stored whole and unwashed in a plastic or paper bag in the refrigerator.
In the United States, Chinese Five Color chile peppers are a popular ornamental plant that is often grown indoors or in small gardens during the holiday season in warmer climates. The plants grow just over one meter in height, making them suitable for containers and pots and can produce over one hundred pods, all maturing at different times, giving the plant a multi-colored appearance. The colorful peppers are said to be similar in shape to Christmas lights, also mirroring their bight hues, and are favored as festive decorations. Chinese Five Color chile peppers are also commonly given as host gifts during holiday parties as a symbol of good cheer and friendship.
Chinese Five Color chile peppers are believed to be native to China and are descendants of chile peppers that were originally introduced into China by Spanish and Portuguese explorers from Central and South America. Today Chinese Five Color chile peppers are not grown commercially but can be found through small farms at local farmer’s markets in Europe, the United States, and Asia. The colorful peppers are also available through online seed catalogs for home garden use.