Yum Yum Chile Peppers
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Yum Yum peppers are small, elongated pods, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in length and 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter, and have a conical to flattened shape with slight tapering to 1 to 3 lobes on the non-stem end. The skin is smooth, shiny, and waxy, ripening from green to orange, yellow, or red when mature. Underneath the surface, the flesh is semi-thick, crisp, aqueous, and pale red, orange, or yellow, encasing a central cavity filled with membranes. The pods may also be seedless or contain a few small, round, and flat, cream-colored seeds. Yum Yum peppers are aromatic and have a very sweet, earthy flavor.
Yum Yum peppers are available year-round, with a peak season in the mid-summer through fall.
Yum Yum peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are a mini sweet pepper variety belonging to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as Snack peppers, Miniature sweet peppers, or Lunchbox peppers, Yum Yum peppers were developed as hybrid pods that lack capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that triggers the brain to feel the sensation of spice or heat. The small peppers are often found in multi-colored packages and are promoted as snacking peppers for their crunchy texture and sweet flavor. They are also encouraged for home gardening as the plants are known for their small size, resistance to disease, and easy-to-grow nature.
Yum Yum peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help protect against environmental aggressors and boost the immune system. The peppers are also a good source of vitamin A and contain fiber, vitamins B6, E, and K, potassium, folate, and manganese.
Yum Yum peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as grilling, roasting, and sautéing. The peppers can be consumed fresh, out-of-hand as a crunchy snack, sliced and tossed into salads, displayed on appetizer platters, chopped into salsa, or halved and stuffed with dips, cheeses, or hot fillings. The sweet flavor of the peppers makes them a suitable substitute for common bell peppers in recipes. Yum Yum peppers can also be skewered onto kabobs, sliced and roasted as a topping on tacos, fajitas, pasta, and pizza, cooked into eggs, layered into sandwiches, or tossed into soups and stews. In addition to fresh preparations, the sweet peppers can be pickled for extended use. Yum Yum peppers pair well with meats such as ground beef, turkey, pork, or poultry, scallions, onions, garlic, herbs such as cilantro, parsley, and basil, broccoli, asparagus, legumes, and cheeses such as mozzarella, goat, and cheddar. The fresh peppers will keep 1-2 weeks when stored whole and unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
In 2015, the National Garden Bureau declared sweet peppers as the winner of their yearly edible vegetable category. Each year, the Bureau creates a “year of the” list, and there are winners for four different categories as a way to promote plants that have exceptional characteristics. Once selected, the Bureau encourages garden centers across the United States to promote the four awarded varieties as the selections exhibit an easy-to-grow nature for home gardening. Sweet peppers such as the Yum Yum pepper was selected for their compact size, bright colors, and sweet flavor. Through the “year of the” marketing platform, the sale of sweet peppers in 2015 substantially increased and allowed sweet peppers to become widespread in farmer’s markets, home gardens, and specialty grocers.
Yum Yum peppers were created by US Agriseeds, a company based in San Luis Obispo, California, that is a part of the larger parent company VoloAgri®. The seeds were distributed through several other companies under VoloAgri® to specific vegetable producing regions and were promoted as a variety with improved resistance to disease and quality flavor. Today Yum Yum peppers are grown by many small farmers in the United States and Mexico, and the seeds are also available through online catalogs for home garden use.