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Antohi Romanian Sweet Peppers
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Antohi Romanian sweet peppers grow on very productive plants. The peppers are conical in shape, measuring an average of 4 inches long and 2 inches across at the shoulders. The slightly pear-shaped peppers taper to a point at the end. Antohi Romanian peppers ripen from pale yellow to orange, then to a bright, shiny red. The sweet peppers can be harvested at any stage. Antohi Romanian sweet peppers are medium-thick walled. They are sweet and mild, with a crisp, juicy texture.
Antohi Romanian sweet peppers are available in the fall and into the winter months.
Antohi Romanian sweet peppers are, as the name suggests, an Eastern European variety of Capsicum annuum. The sweet peppers have a similar appearance to the Russian White Lakes pepper, also a rare, heirloom variety from Eastern Europe. The pepper is said to be named for a Romanian acrobat who defected to the United States in the 1980s.
Sweet peppers are very high in vitamin C and are rich in vitamins A and B-complex. They also contain fiber and essential minerals like magnesium, iron and potassium.
The Antohi Romanian sweet pepper is considered a “frying pepper” and is typically destemmed, cut in half, the seeds and ribs removed, and pan fried in olive oil. This brings out the sweetness in the pepper and is the most popular application for the Antohi Romanian peppers. From the frying pan, the sweet peppers can be used for veggie sandwiches, or sliced and added to pasta or green salads. As an alternative to frying, once halved, coat Antohi Romanian sweet peppers in olive oil and bake. The baked peppers can be eaten on toast, in sandwiches or in salads. Top with crumbled cheese and herbs before baking and serve as an appetizer or side. Use Antohi peppers instead of bell peppers on skewers or in ratatouille. Raw sweet peppers can be added to salsas or gazpacho. The Romanian peppers can also be stuffed or roasted and added to soups. Antohi Romanian sweet peppers will keep for up to a week when stored in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator.
The origin story for these heirloom sweet peppers begins with the circus. During the mid-1980s several Romanian circus performers defected to the United States due to conditions under the communist government of the Soviet Union. One of these acrobats was Jan Antohi. According to the story, Jan missed his mother’s cooking greatly after living in the United States under asylum. After the fall of the Soviet Union he returned to Romania to visit his mother, and brought the heirloom pepper seeds back with him to the US. In 1991 the seeds made their way to Seed Savers, an organization that collects, grows and shares heirloom seeds and plants. Since then, the peppers have become popular among American gardeners.
Antohi Romanian sweet peppers were introduced to the United States in 1991 from Romania. The pepper is a grossum variety of Capsicum annuum, a category of which includes all bell and sweet peppers. The grossum category is one of five that includes all members of Capsicum annuum. Members of this genus are native to South and Central America and were brought to Europe by Portuguese explorers. Antohi Romanian sweet peppers are typically grown by the home gardener, but are sometimes grown by small farms and will appear at farmer’s markets or in community supported agriculture boxes.