misc Are Capsicum annuum peppers worth growing?

I grew shishito peppers a couple of years ago after trying them at a restaurant.  That same year, shishito peppers started showing up periodically at the grocery.  
 
The grocery stores here usually stock a reasonable selection of Capsicum annuum peppers.  Fresh bell peppers, jalapeno, cubanelle, poblano, and serrano are usually in stock.  Occasionally Anaheim or Hatch peppers show up.  Cayenne flakes and powder can be purchased in bulk for relatively cheap.  I can get Thai peppers if I make an extra trip to an asian grocery store.  Harissa paste is available in jars. 
 
In comparison, chinense peppers are hard to find at the grocery stores in my area. Orange habanero is the only type I have ever seen available, and I usually see it only once or twice a year.  Chinense peppers are a must grow for me since I do not have the option to buy them at the store. It is fun to grow different unique varieties, but if several Chinense varieties were available at the grocery, that would probably satisfy me and I might not bother growing peppers at all.  
 
 Are there any essential Capsicum annuum peppers, that are hard to find at the grocery, and have no acceptable substitute?  What Capsicum annuum varieties, if any,  have you found essential to grow at home every year?
 
What varieties, if any, are nonessential, but highly recommended to grow at least once for novelty value?  I have been considering growing Thunder Mountain Longhorn, mostly just to enjoy the unique size and shape.
 
You make a great point, and I've considered this since my growing space is so small. I think I'll be growing Aleppo peppers again, but other than that, I'm done with annuums. They aren't worth the grow space And for me they have become quite a hassle since the squirrels in the area have developed a taste for spice (no shit!). They even eat cayennes and all my baccatums. But they try the chinenese peppers once and then leave them alone.
 
spicy.curry said:
I grew shishito peppers a couple of years ago after trying them at a restaurant.  That same year, shishito peppers started showing up periodically at the grocery.  
 
The grocery stores here usually stock a reasonable selection of Capsicum annuum peppers.  Fresh bell peppers, jalapeno, cubanelle, poblano, and serrano are usually in stock.  Occasionally Anaheim or Hatch peppers show up.  Cayenne flakes and powder can be purchased in bulk for relatively cheap.  I can get Thai peppers if I make an extra trip to an asian grocery store.  Harissa paste is available in jars. 
 
In comparison, chinense peppers are hard to find at the grocery stores in my area. Orange habanero is the only type I have ever seen available, and I usually see it only once or twice a year.  Chinense peppers are a must grow for me since I do not have the option to buy them at the store. It is fun to grow different unique varieties, but if several Chinense varieties were available at the grocery, that would probably satisfy me and I might not bother growing peppers at all.  
 
 Are there any essential Capsicum annuum peppers, that are hard to find at the grocery, and have no acceptable substitute?  What Capsicum annuum varieties, if any,  have you found essential to grow at home every year?
 
What varieties, if any, are nonessential, but highly recommended to grow at least once for novelty value?  I have been considering growing Thunder Mountain Longhorn, mostly just to enjoy the unique size and shape.
Bells, jalapenos, poblanos and Hatches are on my list for next year.
 
spicy.curry said:
 
What varieties, if any, are nonessential, but highly recommended to grow at least once for novelty value? 
 
I can think of a few interesting ones that you might want to consider before just giving up on annuums completely.
 
Jamaican Mushroom: Cool shapes, a nice sweet taste, and they can be pretty hot for an annuum.
 
Fish Pepper: Pretty plants that produce good tasting peppers.
 
Antep Aci Dolma: Bell-type pepper with Jalapeno heat. I have not seen spicy bell peppers in any stores.
 
Tekne Dolmasi: Very sweet, thick-walled stuffing pepper. No heat. I like these better than regular Bells.
 
Buena Mulata: Multicolored Cayenne type. Pretty and nice flavor.
 

Harry_Dangler

Extreme Member
I think if you're satisfied with the annuums in your local grocery and/or have space limitations .... then why not focus on something else!  We grow at least 20 annuum varieties because I think we can do better.  We also grow at least 10 baccatum and 60 chinense varieties every year.  All of BF's recommendations are excellent.  We like the New Mexico chiles (for lack of a better description), cubanelles, some specific Jalas, Bacskai Feher, Sweetest, Chervena Chuska, and Aleppo every year.  This year we were introduced to Haskorea and Giant Sweet Devil's Horn which we will continue to grow.  
 
Growing peppers has brought me great joy.  After a stressful day at work, I find it very peaceful and relaxing to sit outside for a quiet moment, observing and tending to the peppers.  I suppose I am lucky that lack of availability of habanero type peppers forced me into this hobby.  
 
It is nice that growers are continuing the tradition and diversity of the numerous varieties. 
 
I used to grow shishitos years ago mostly because I had lived in Japan for several years where they are ubiquitous.  They were hard to find outside of Japanese specialty grocery stores. But then like you noted they started showing up in many grocery stores here in the US so I stopped growing them.  The only other annuums I have grown were Chihaucle Rojo and Chihaucle Negro which we used to make mole sauce.
 
This year is my first year growing in Kansas (we moved from northern California a year ago). Among the seeds I brought from California were some Chihaucles but none germinated.  I bought some 'Mosco' Pueblo Mirasol seeds and might grow them again next year, but I definitely would grow Chihaucle Rojo and/or Negro again but that would be it for annuums.  Mostly I grow baccatums along with a few pubescens and a few chinense. 
 
Seems kind of short sided not to grow a pepper simply cause it is an annuum. I'll give a different take- how about the dwarf/ornamental route? Space is an issue for many, and there are many edible annuum varieties out there that fit this niche. They can be grown indoors as house plants, companion planted with larger varieties, or planted in smaller pots as patio plants. Also, some of these annuum varieties develop rather fast, so they may be beneficial for those with a short grow season.

I'll give you 3 varieties with 3 different deployments.

Tangerine dream - sweet heatless variety. (I was gonna grow it as a patio plant, but I killed my 1 plant this spring with a late frost)

Apache - dwarf, hot. I have one as a indoor houseplant that is rather neglected, doesn't get enough light, but it still somehow manages to put out the occasional little red fireball. Why is it inside as a houseplant? Because, why not, IDK. Also, I had my first pod off of this plant about 70 days after sprouting.

Sedona Sun - one of my planters is a water trough that is big enough for 2 standard size plants, but not big enough for 3. But, it is big enough to put this dwarf ornamental variety on one end. The plant is maybe 12", but those pods just keep cranking out. They are quite flavorful and make a nice dried flake. Not supposed to be hot, but mine are on the level of jalapeno.

I don't know, I just like to maximize space, production, effort, and enjoyment. There are lots of varieties of there, lots of niches can be filled with annuum varieties.
 
I can't ever get this rather common ( annuum ) Jala at any local grocery stores. They pick them way before they're ripe enough for me...
 
 
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CraftyFox

Extreme Member
Seems kind of short sided not to grow a pepper simply cause it is an annuum. I'll give a different take- how about the dwarf/ornamental route? Space is an issue for many, and there are many edible annuum varieties out there that fit this niche. They can be grown indoors as house plants, companion planted with larger varieties, or planted in smaller pots as patio plants. Also, some of these annuum varieties develop rather fast, so they may be beneficial for those with a short grow season.

I'll give you 3 varieties with 3 different deployments.

Tangerine dream - sweet heatless variety. (I was gonna grow it as a patio plant, but I killed my 1 plant this spring with a late frost)

Apache - dwarf, hot. I have one as a indoor houseplant that is rather neglected, doesn't get enough light, but it still somehow manages to put out the occasional little red fireball. Why is it inside as a houseplant? Because, why not, IDK. Also, I had my first pod off of this plant about 70 days after sprouting.

Sedona Sun - one of my planters is a water trough that is big enough for 2 standard size plants, but not big enough for 3. But, it is big enough to put this dwarf ornamental variety on one end. The plant is maybe 12", but those pods just keep cranking out. They are quite flavorful and make a nice dried flake. Not supposed to be hot, but mine are on the level of jalapeno.

I don't know, I just like to maximize space, production, effort, and enjoyment. There are lots of varieties of there, lots of niches can be filled with annuum varieties.

Where did you get the idea that Sedona Sun was not a hot pepper? I sure didn't tell you that.. I've yet to have one that wasn't. Not sure I'd really like them much if they didn't have that little bite to them. I'd love to have a deciduous version of it.. Probably my only gripe with that pepper. Those and Jukka's BEB would be greatly improved with deciduous pods. Sedona Sun is the one I dream about lining a path or walkway, just out of the range of the streetlights.. Or some other night garden type feature.

I agree on there being many Annuum worth growing.. Every year I find at least one new one.
We don't even need to stay in the dwarfs.. What about Amish Hot Finger? Espelette? Those two blow away anything I've had for Annuums from the store. I was pretty bored with Annuum when I started this journey of peppers, but then I got ran over by the train and had a few awesome peppers grown by others on here.. I've definitely found the excitement again. For a beginner, or someone who doesn't have the best climate or resources.. I can't think of better, more forgiving peppers than Anns.

If you are growing for money.. That might be another story, but I doubt it. I'd know better if I hadn't tried growing so many Chinense this year.

Back before Jack's pizza (local pizza company here) was bought by Nestle, there was one guy that grew all of their peppers. He lives right on the other side of the neighborhood here.. All Annuum. He did well enough with that contract to build a successful florist business from it. Most of the growing he did right in his city lot, starting out. It may be a different world now, but there are still lots of people who make food for a living, love to use local sources, and have zero interest in peppers outside of Anns.
 
I find myself returning to Annuums every time I mainly grow other varieties. Their versatility and use, for me personally, triumfs other varieties. That said I still grow other varieties and wilds.

Also the argument with not growing what you can buy, is not something I agree with :) Homegrown is best, I can always get a cucumber at the grocery, but im still going to grow one myself :D-

That said, if space an issue I can understand trying as many more exotic varieties as possible.
 

Kramer

Extreme Member
I can't ever get this rather common ( annuum ) Jala at any local grocery stores. They pick them way before they're ripe enough for me...



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Yeah, that's the biggest one for me. Once I tried a ripe jalapa the first time, I knew the unripe supermarket ones were just never going to hit the same. They're sweeter, hotter, less grassy, and idk..juicier? I've never seen ripe ones being sold near me, just the massive green ones. So I'll keep growing them, if anything because I can control the conditions and get exactly what I want.
 
Reasons I grow annuums:

1. Ripeness. Like acs1 said, stores usually dont carry ripe varieties of things like jalapeños, serannos, thais, pablanos etc.

2. Sauce making. I like to make a couple batches of homemade annuum hot sauce and at least around here stores dont usually cary fresh cayenne or ripe jalapeños etc that I might use.

3. Dried powders/flakes. The ones you make at home are miles better than any store bought "crushed red pepper" ive ever found in a store, you can use varieties that are never sold that way anywhere, have unique bright flavors, and you can control the amount of seeds in your final product which makes a big difference to me.

4. They're easier to grow and produce faster which makes growing them fun and spreads your harvest out over a longer period.

Varieties I've enjoyed this season:
1. Aleppo
2. Carolina cayenne
3. Orange thai sse
4. Goats weed
5. Big jim
6. Zapotec jalapeños
 
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