I personally love Carmen Peppers for their flavor and thickness. They’re ideal for stuffing and roasting. This Italian pepper is a bull’s horn type (Corno di toro) pepper, a name identified with its elongated shape. In this article, you’ll read about all important characteristics of this sweet chili-like Scoville heat level, flavor, appearance, uses, substitutes, and more.
What are Carmen Peppers?
Carmen is the Italian bull’s horn-shaped sweet pepper about 6 inches long by 2 ½ inches wide. The tapered fruit weighs about 5 ounces (142 gm) and ripens from green to deep red. It belongs to the Capsicum Annuum species of the Solanaceae nightshade family.
What’s really unique about this pepper is its unusual shape and large size, unlike most other sweet peppers which are bell-shaped. Usually, sweet peppers are sweetest when fully ripe but Carmen is sweet even when they are tender and green.
From the outward appearance, one would never think them to be sweet for their deep red color and jumbo size. Surprisingly, beneath the fiery hot look, there is no heat at all in this Italian pepper. In fact, it’s deliciously sweet and is a versatile pepper with a wide array of culinary uses like roasting, stuffing, and grilling. Because of its versatility, it’s an All-America Selections (AAS) winning plant.
To buy fresh Italian sweet peppers, look for them in farmer’s markets and Italian specialty shops. Most supermarkets have them on sale, usually placed adjacent to bell peppers.
Key Facts In A Gist
- Capsicum species: Annuum
- Origin: Italy
- Other names: Corno di Toro, Italian sweet pepper
- Harvest season: summer
- Heat level: 0 SHU
- Median heat: 0 SHU
- Size: approximately 5 to 6 inches long, 2 ½ inches wide
- Shape: bull’s horn, tapered and elongated
- Color: ripen from green to deep red
- Flavor: sweet, fruity
- Use: culinary
- Popular recipes: stuffing, roasting, grilling
- Substitutes: Bell Peppers, Anaheim, or Banana Peppers
Carmen Peppers’ Scoville
By the size and fiery red color, everyone expects a good bit of heat from Carmen. The Corno di Toro (horn of the bull) pepper is very different from sweet peppers which are generally bell-shaped. In fact, when we hear the name “sweet pepper” what comes to our mind is the bell pepper. To our surprise, the Carmen pepper has a heat level of 0 SHU on the Scoville scale. In comparison to Jalapeno, the bull’s horn pepper is 1,500 to 8,000 times milder.
Carmen peppers are sweeter than red bell peppers. Mature red peppers are the sweetest but even the young ones on the vine have a robust sweetness. In fact, most other sweet peppers like the common bell peppers are more grassy and bright when they are green and tender. You can even eat them raw both young and ripe peppers alike. All the same, the bull’s horn chili tastes typically the best when fully mature with deep red on the vine.
I personally think that the Carmen peppers are more versatile in the kitchen than the common bell peppers. Its sufficiently thick skin wall and wide cavity make it a fantastic stuffing pepper for a wide range of recipes. Just like the bell peppers, this pepper can endure heat and stays in shape even when roasted or grilled. Thanks to their thick skin walls. In place of bell peppers, use the Carmen pepper in smoky BBQ; it tastes amazingly good. Slice them into thin circles and add them to sandwiches, salads, or soups. Even the raw peppers taste good, and can very well be used as a side for dips. If you love to enjoy fruitier salsa, then this Italian sweet pepper is going to thrill you to the core. Its fruity sweet flavor wonderfully complements tropical fruit salsas, blueberry salsas, apple-based salsas, and more.
Carmen Plant – Ideas For Nurturing
Carmen chili is suitable for indoor and outdoor growing. Once the seedlings are planted on the warm garden soil, it would take about 75 days for the ripe red peppers to be ready for the harvest. This pepper gets ready for harvest 2 to 3 weeks earlier than bell pepper and other sweet peppers. The shorter growing cycle of the plant is beneficial for those who live in shorter growing cycle climates.
The plant is highly adaptable to a wide range of temperatures except for the extreme climate. All the same, they produce the best yield in sunny warm climatic conditions and soil with enough nutrients and water.
Carmen plants grow to an average height of 30 inches and can be accommodated in larger patio containers. Also, this chili plant can be cultivated along with other edibles and annuals.
For further reading, follow the link to find out all facts on Caribbean Red Habanero Pepper on this blog.