Hungarian Wax Peppers aren’t exactly setting the chilehead world a-flame but maybe that’s due to unfortunate naming. You can cook with them and they don’t taste like something from a candle store.
Long and tapering, the Hungarian Wax Pepper is a creamy yellow color with a waxy translucent finish. It has a thin skin and a thick flesh.
It matures to a striking red-orange to red color. The pods can grow to 5 to 8 inches. This pod type probably has the widest heat range of any chile. It requires a taste test in order to judge its piquancy as it can vary from warm to moderately hot. Fully ripe, the Scoville Heat Units can vary from 100 to 15,000. The Wax type varies in size, appearance, and pungency. The ‘Santa Fe Grande’ variety has multiple stems and a compact habit, growing 30 inches high or more. The leaves are ovate, smooth, medium green in color and measure 5 inches long and 3 inches wide. The flower corollas are white with no spots. The pods are borne erect to pendant (depending on size), are conical but tapering, and bluntly pointed at the end. They begin as yellow and mature to orange and then red, and measure 3 1/2 to 5 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. The growing period is 70 or more days, and the yield is 25 or more pods to the plant.
Although Hungarian wax peppers are medium-hot, you may want to wear gloves when working with them and usually the seeds are discarded before using the peppers in a dish. Wax peppers cook well and often will add just the right amount of heat to a dish so that it doesn’t over power other flavors. You can use them fresh both at the yellow or red stages. They can be stored in the fridge wrapped in paper towel, a brown bag, or zip-locked in plastic.
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