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In this Lesson you will Learn

  1. What are common types of peppers?
  2. Which peppers are the spiciest?
  3. How to select and store peppers

Peppers come in sweet and hot varieties. Sweet peppers include bell peppers, Cubanelle peppers, pimentos, sweet banana peppers, and sweet pepperoncini.

Bell peppers, whether green, red, yellow, or orange, are extremely popular and turn up in a number of recipes. Although most supermarkets import bell peppers from Mexico and The Netherlands to keep them in stock year round, we recommend buying locally grown bell peppers when they are in season between July and November.1 Also, bell peppers are unfortunately on the "dirty dozen" list compiled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), so you might want to buy organic when you can.

Spicy peppers differ considerably in just how spicy they are, which is why the Scoville scale is used to measure how spicy a pepper is. For example, mild poblano chilis have 1,000 to 2,000 Scovile heat units (SHU) while the ridiculously hot habanero peppers have 200,000-300,000 SHU. Other common spicy peppers (from least spicy to most spicy) include jalapenos, Serrano chilies, arbol chilies, Thai chilies, and cayenne peppers.2

When choosing peppers—sweet or spicy—look for firm peppers with smooth skin (no wrinkled or soft spots). Bell peppers should be used as soon as possible, since they won't last much longer than 5 days in the fridge. Chili peppers should also be stored in the refrigerator and will last a bit longer than bell peppers. Keep in mind, the smaller the pepper, the hotter it usually is.3 To remove some of the heat, remove the seeds before cooking. Be careful not to rub your eyes!

Note: spicy peppers are often sold smoked and/or dried as well. For example, smoked and dried jalapenos are sold as chipotle peppers and dried poblano peppers are sold as ancho chiles.

Nutrition DNA

The nutrition DNA of one pepper. For example, you can see that 1 pepper covers 116% of your daily need of Vitamin C and 14% of the recommended Vitamin B6 intake. Hover over the bars to see which nutrient is covered.


  1. Cooking Light - Seasons of Peppers
  2. Huffington Post - How Spicy are Chile Peppers?
  3. ThinkVegetables - Smaller Peppers are Usually Hotter


  1. Common sweet peppers include bell peppers, Cubanelle peppers, pimentos, sweet banana peppers, and sweet pepperoncini.
  2. Common hot peppers include jalapenos, serrano chilies, arbol chilies, Thai chilies, cayenne peppers, and habanero peppers.
  3. Selecting and storing: choose firm peppers with smooth skin and store in the refrigerator
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