Cherry peppers are grown both commercially and in home gardens. Although they are not often seen for sale in supermarket produce sections, cherry peppers make appearances in a variety of condiments and prepared foods. Gardeners choosing to grow cherry peppers can skip the bags and use them fresh from their garden instead. Due to their thick flesh, cherry peppers do not dry well, and are always used fresh.
Cherry peppers are a type of chili pepper so named because they resemble cherries. Up to 1 inch in diameter, cherry peppers are bright red or orange. They come in two varieties: sweet and hot. Sweet cherries are slightly smaller. Cherry pepper plants are compact, bushy and have green leaves that are slightly heart-shaped at the petiole (where the leaf joins the stem) and pointed at their tips.
Planted cherry chili peppers in areas that get full sun. The soil should be rich and well-drained, and other members of the Solanaceae family (potatoes, other peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant) should not have been planted in that spot in the last three years to prevent recurrent disease and pest problems. A good all-purpose vegetable fertilizer should be applied according to package instructions, and the soil around pepper plants should be watered regularly.
Sweet cherry peppers are often used for pickling, or may be stuffed or otherwise used in recipes. They are often kept whole, as they're at their most attractive this way. Hot cherry peppers are usually cut up, so that they do not overwhelm a dish. Both types of chili pepper plant may be grown for ornamental purposes. Compact, bushy growth and the stunning contrast of the bright red peppers against the deep green foliage makes for a conversation piece.
Cherry peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A, B, and C, as well as several minerals, according to Specialty Produce. They are also high in fiber, low in sodium, fat, saturated fat, and they're cholesterol-free. Additionally, they are reputed to increase one's metabolism, especially the hot variety.
Cherry peppers can be deceptively hot. The Scoville Scale is a method that pharmacist Wilbur Scoville developed in 1912 to measure the comparative heat level of chili peppers. This method rated pepper heat levels based on how many units of sugar water human participants needed to ingest to negate the heat of each pepper. Peppers were assigned a value from 0 to 10, with 10 being the hottest. Although the heat of peppers in the modern era is now ascertained using the ASTA scale, this is most frequently converted to Scoville Scale units for consistency. Cherry peppers can range anywhere from 0 to 5 Scoville units, and can be quite hot. Casual nibblers should take care when munching unknown cherry peppers.