When you decide to make something spicy for the family (or just yourself for that matter), pepper is probably the most obvious choice to obtain the spiciness. I mean, that’s why we keep the Salt and Pepper Grinder Set nearby all the time, right?
Pepper itself comes in different kinds and shapes. Each person in the kitchen has a preference when it comes to this sort of thing. I personally use either pepperoncini or banana pepper. One day while I was preparing a hot dish for my family, this one specific question struck my mind, what’s the difference between banana pepper and pepperoncini? I felt that telling the difference between a Muffin Pan and an Omelette Pan looks like a piece of cake compared to answering that question.
To find my answer, I went ahead and asked the man at our local store. At first, he seemed confused about the question, but then he went on to explain that they’re practically the same, to the point where professionals (farmers in this case) can’t tell them apart at times. But I was determined to know the difference between these two highly similar members of the pepper family, and like any person seeking knowledge about something, I did my research and had found out some facts about these 2 types of pepper that I’m going to share with you today.
First, I’m going to give a brief explanation of the origins of these vegetables, then cite the different benefits of eating pepperoncini or banana pepper, and finally answer the question that I’ve written this whole article for in the first place: what’s the difference between them?
The Origin Story
It all started with Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World (America) back in 1492, in addition to the new peoples and cultures, new fruits and veggies were discovered too. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, pepperoncino was one of them, and it was first brought to Italy at the beginning of the 16th century. Fun fact: people first thought that the plant was poisonous and thus chose to use it for decorative purposes only.
At the time, pepperoncino was only used by the lower-class due to its low price and convenience; it wasn’t until the last few years of the 17 th century that the upper class took notice of it when the Neapolitan cook Antonio Latini featured it in his Italian Cookbook. It was used in a recipe for Salsa Alla Spagnola alongside tomatoes, onion, peppermint, salt, and some oil, and the recipe was used as a relish at the time.
Banana pepper (also known as the banana chili or the yellow wax pepper) is a member of the chili pepper family. While famous for its yellow color, it can also come in different colors ranging from green to orange or red. Although its origin is similar to that of the pepperoncini, it made it to all the different cuisines rather quickly due to its not-so-hot taste and convenience. Nwadays, you can even find it in a Japanese Cookbook or a Mediterranean Cookbook. Most of the time, banana peppers are pickled & stuffed or simply used as a raw ingredient in dishes.
Pepperoncini: An Introduction and the Many Benefits of Eating It
Peppers come in different shapes and colors, and pepperoncini in no exception. It usually starts from light green then gradually changes to green then red as it ripens. But the majority of pepperoncini that you’ll find in markets is green.
If you’re the kind of person who has a garden in his backyard and enjoys growing stuff, then you should probably consider growing some pepperoncini by yourself. You can find seeds of pepperoncini in your local garden shop or even online, the process of taking care of pepperoncini and harvesting it isn’t that hard too. All you need to do is to water your plants once a week, and you’ll hopefully have mature pepperoncini in about 70 days which are ready to be included in any recipe form an Indian Cookbook.
Moving on to the benefits of consuming pepperoncini, first off, it contains vitamin C, which is one of the most essential vitamins for our immune system. Not only does this vitamin protect you from issues like getting cold, but it can also go as far as preventing cell damage from occurring in your body. But, cooking the pepperoncini will destroy all the vitamin C that it contains, so if you wish to keep the highest level of vitamin C, you should probably just use it pepperoncini in its raw, uncooked state.
In addition to vitamin C, pepperoncini contain vitamin A, and as you and I and most people were told as kids in school, vitamin A is indeed good for our eyesight. In addition to improving your night vision, vitamin A is necessary for a healthy skin and teeth. Through my research, I have also found out that vitamin A can play a factor in reducing the risks of getting diarrhea and measles in our children.
Moreover, Pepperoncini contain a decent amount of iron, the mineral that our bodies need on a consistent basis, in order for our cells to grow. A lack of iron in your body can be the cause of multiple health issues including becoming extra vulnerable to infections and such.
It doesn’t stop there; a single pepperoncino contains about 1g of fiber. Fiber, if you’re unfamiliar with it, is one of the key components in the making of your immune system and its strength. It also eases the process of digestion making you feel fuller after eating, thus decreasing the danger of becoming overweight (or helping with weight loss). Pepperoncini also contains plenty of Capsaicin which also helps with weight loss, by accelerating the burning of fat deposits and raising your metabolism rate. All those benefits make this veggie compatible with any set of Kitchen Gadgets for Healthy Cooking.
The Banana Pepper: What Is It? And Why Is It Good for Your Health?
As the name suggests, this pepper is 2 to 3 inches long, curve-shaped, yellow veggie. Similar to the pepperoncini, the banana pepper is available almost everywhere. But if you’re into gardening then growing some yourself is doable. These peppers are known for the fact that they can grow in nearly every climate, but if you happen to live in a relatively warm area then it’s your lucky day! Once they’re firm and yellow, you can pick them off the plant one by one.
Note that you can leave them until they become orange or even red, but at the end of the day, at which point in time you decide to pick them up depends on the intended use. For example, if you wish to pickle them, it’s best that you pick them up as soon as possible, in other words, when they’re still yellow.
Now for the benefits of eating banana pepper, being a relative to the previously discussed pepperoncini, it consequently contains both Vitamin A & C and iron. Additionally, banana pepper includes multiple different variations of Vitamin B, which are super useful for releasing energy for carbohydrates. That’s the fancy expression for speeding up your metabolism, thus losing weight.
Moreover, Banana pepper contains magnesium, which is essential for your growth, and it is highly recommended to consume foods that contain magnesium in the case of pregnancy. Calcium is present too, a necessary component for the well-being of your bones.
Although pepperoncini and banana pepper come from the same family, and some people have a hard time trying to tell which is which, they differ in multiple ways.
When someone says pepper, the first thing that probably comes to your mind and most people’s minds is “hot” and “spicy”. For the measurement of the heat of peppers, the Scoville scale is used, which goes from 0 SHU (Scoville Heat Units) up to more than 2 million. The pepperoncini are between 100 and 500 SHU while the banana pepper’s SHU ranges from 0 to 500.
Size wise, they both usually grow to be 2 to 3 inches long, and the colors of them match most of the time. The nutrition value of both of them is almost the same too, due to them being members of the same family. So how can you tell them apart?
Well, for starters, although they look highly similar, banana pepper tends to be smooth to the touch while pepperoncini tend to be wrinkled and have bends all over them.
If the touch of the skin didn’t tell you which is which, then shape probably will. As the name already suggests, not only is a banana pepper yellow like an actual banana but it’s also shaped like one, with a curvy shape and a pointy end.
Moving on to what I consider to be the most essential part of this whole comparison, how do you use both of these peppers in the kitchen?
Two of the most common uses of pepper is slicing it and putting it on a pizza or as a main ingredient of a salad using a Salad Spinner. Just like there is an Apple Slicer and an Avocado Slicer, you can find a tool to slice pepper directly or do it using your Kitchen Utility Knife. However, when it comes to cooking, there is one crucial difference between pepperoncini and banana pepper.
Banana pepper have thick walls that allow you to stuff them with a variety of things, while pepperoncini, unfortunately, have thin skin making them unsuitable for stuffing. However, the thin skin of pepperoncini can be a good thing, simply because it allows you to easily pickle them ( in reality, both species can be pickled but it’s just easier to pickle pepperoncini due to its thin skin).
You can go as far as using them in extravagant recipes, for example, believe it or not, banana peppers are used by some in ice cream. This is a thing due to the pepper’s sweetness. And while pepperoncini can’t be used in ice cream like their relatives, they make for good appetizers due to their crunchiness.
Both peppers can be eaten raw though, and this sheds light on the difference in taste between the two. Pepperoncini have a certain bitterness to them while banana peppers are more on the tangy and sweet side of things, and this difference in taste unlocks a huge variety of options for both.
This difference in taste can be eliminated through pickling though, so if you’re short on pickled pepperoncini, you can use pickled banana peppers if you have some, and vice-versa.
You should also keep in mind that there are cultivars of these two exist, for one, some of the more popular cultivars of banana peppers include Sweet Hungarian, Bananarama, Hungarian Yellow Wax, and more, these cultivars differ in both texture and sweetness.
Although cultivars of pepperoncini exist too, they’re not that many in comparison to the banana pepper, one of the most popular ones is The Golden Greek, which tastes less good in comparison to the Italian variant.
To Wrap It Up
In conclusion, you should probably consider using pepperoncini or banana on your plate next time you cook something, and if you’re already a dedicated user then good for you! And although the two can differ in multiple ways, they both share one crucial characteristic, and that is how healthy they are. I’m sure the above information left you dreaming about a spicy dinner, so get your Olive Oil Dispenser, open your Mexican Cookbook, grab your 9×13 Pan, and start cooking!
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