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Flamingo peppers are a large, sweet pepper variety, averaging 8 to 15 centimeters in length, and bear a conical to elongated, tapered shape, ending in a distinct small point on the non-stem end, known as the “nose.” The pepper’s skin is smooth, waxy, and taut, showcasing light ribbing and prominent creases to define the lobes of the pepper. Flamingo peppers also transition from pale green, ivory, orange-red, to bright red when ripe, varying in saturation depending on the growing conditions. Underneath the surface, the flesh is dense, approximately 4 to 5 millimeters thick, and is crisp, aqueous, and fleshy. There is also a central, hollow cavity comprised of 3 to 4 chambers filled with many round, flat, and ivory seeds. Flamingo peppers have a refreshing crisp and sweet consistency when raw, deepening into mellow, earthy, and sweet tones when cooked.
Flamingo peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the summer through fall.
Flamingo peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are a sweet hybrid variety belonging to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The large, tapered peppers are an early-season cultivar, ripening in approximately 60 to 65 days, and the peppers are considered a rare variety, primarily grown in home gardens. Flamingo peppers are similar to gypsy bell peppers as they can be utilized in culinary applications throughout multiple maturity stages. The peppers are favored by home gardeners and chefs for their productive nature, bright coloring, resistance to disease and temperature changes, and ability to be transported without damage.
Flamingo peppers are a good source of vitamins A and C to boost collagen production, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the immune system. The peppers also provide vitamin K to promote faster wound healing, vitamin E to protect the cells against damage inflicted by free radicals, and contain other amounts of potassium, vitamin B6, and manganese.
Flamingo peppers have a sweet, crunchy, and aqueous nature well suited for both raw and cooked applications, including roasting, baking, stir-frying, and grilling. The peppers can be chopped and tossed into salads, mixed into slaws, sliced and served on appetizer platters with dips, or cut and incorporated into salsa. Flamingo peppers can also be layered into sandwiches, minced into dips, grilled for a smoky sweetness, or diced into stir-fries. The bright red peppers provide color and texture to soups and curries, or they can be cooked into casseroles, mixed into pasta, or pickled for extended use as a tangy topping and condiment. Flamingo peppers pair well with herbs such as basil, bay leaves, oregano, fenugreek, and coriander, aromatics such as garlic, onions, shallots, and ginger, tomatoes, potatoes, and meats including poultry, pork, and beef. The peppers will keep 1 to 2 weeks when stored unwashed, wrapped in damp paper towels, and sealed in a container in the refrigerator. Flamingo peppers can also be sliced and frozen for longer storage life.
Flamingo peppers are a favorite sweet pepper variety in Russia. The large, fleshy peppers grow well in the colder northern climates, including Siberia, and are traditionally cultivated in home gardens and family dachas, which are seasonal homes with gardens. Many different kinds of fruits and vegetables are grown in the gardens, and each dacha is customized to the culinary preferences of the family. Sweet peppers are a common crop in Russian gardens, and some dachas even have their own greenhouse to cultivate peppers, such as the Flamingo year-round. The sturdy walls of the pepper are excellent for stuffing and are filled with meat, rice, and chopped vegetables and cooked in the oven. Stuffed peppers are a filling, everyday family meal in Russia, and growing peppers in the garden also reduces monthly expenses. In addition to stuffed peppers, Flamingo peppers are cooked into borscht, an ancient soup utilizing foraged and available ingredients from the garden. There are many different recipes for borscht, unique to families, country, and region, and Flamingo peppers are incorporated as a sweet twist on the standard red bell pepper to contribute texture, color, and flavor.
Flamingo peppers were developed in France by Klauset, a seed company that has been in existence for over 200 years. The sweet peppers were believed by experts to have been created from the cuboid red bell pepper and were selected for their productive nature, disease resistance, and ability to be grown in cold climates. Flamingo peppers were eventually introduced across Europe and Central Asia and were officially registered as a recognized cultivar in Russia in 2006. Today Flamingo peppers are a specialty sweet pepper primarily grown in home gardens. When in season, the large peppers are also sold through select growers at local farmer's markets in North America, Europe, and Asia. The Flamingo peppers in the photograph above were purchased from a local market in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and were imported from Uzbekistan.