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Witch Stick Pepper
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Witch Stick chile peppers are elongated, slender pods, averaging twenty centimeters in length, and have a conical shape that tapers to a point on the non-stem end. The pods typically display a twisted, corkscrew shape from stem to tip, creating a very unusual and novel, spiraled appearance. The skin is smooth, twisted, and thin, ripening from light green, orange, to red when mature. Underneath the surface, the flesh is also very thin, crisp, and pale red-orange, encasing a central cavity filled with membranes, and small, round, and flat, cream-colored seeds. Witch Stick chile peppers are earthy, sweet, and fruity with varying heat levels from mild to moderately hot.
Witch Stick chile peppers are available in the summer through fall.
Witch Stick chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are an unusually shaped, hybrid variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. The relatively new peppers were introduced to North America by a Japanese breeding company in the early 21st century initially under the name Witch’s Wand. Witch Stick chile peppers widely vary in heat depending on the individual pod, stress, and growing environment, with some pods tasting sweet and mild, while other pods containing a heat similar to cayenne peppers. The peppers can be harvested and utilized in culinary applications in both their green, immature state and red, mature state, and the seeds are primarily sold through select catalogs for home garden and specialty farm use.
Witch Stick chile peppers are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, and dietary fiber, which can help regulate the digestive tract. The peppers also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, and a small amount of capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that triggers your brain to feel the sensation of heat or spice. Capsaicin has been shown to provide some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Witch Stick chile peppers are best suited for both raw or cooked applications such as roasting, sautéing, and stir-frying. The peppers can be utilized fresh and chopped into salsas, sauces, or marinades, sliced and tossed into salads, or deseeded and served as an accompaniment to dips on appetizer plates. They can also be cooked to enhance their fruity, sweet flavor, and diced into pasta, used as a topping on pizza, stirred into soups and stews, lightly stir-fried with other vegetables, cooked into jams and jellies, or grilled and layered on sandwiches and in tacos. In addition to fresh preparations, Witch Stick peppers are ideal for drying due to their thin skin and are ground into a seasoning. They can also be pickled for extended use as a condiment and showcase their unusual, twisted shape when stored in glass jars. Witch Stick peppers pair well with eggs, meats such as beef, pork, poultry, and fish, herbs such as thyme, oregano, mint, and coriander, garlic, onion, bell peppers, eggplant, broccoli, and celery. The fresh peppers will keep up to one week when stored whole and unwashed in a paper or plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Witch Stick chile peppers were developed by Tokita Seed, which is one of the oldest seed companies in Japan. Cultivating and breeding many different varieties of vegetables for a global market, Tokita has locations in China, India, Chile, Italy, and the United States to test their seeds in varying climates. Tokita created Witch Stick chile peppers for their unusual shape, flavor, and moderate heat. The peppers are an early-maturing, specialty variety for home gardens, and each plant produces high yields with many pods twisting down the plant. The corkscrew-shaped fruits are still relatively new and unknown in the market, but it is predicted that the novel shapes of the peppers will propel the variety into increased notoriety for use as an ornamental, everyday pepper.
Witch Stick chile peppers were developed by the Japanese seed company Tokita and were released to the market sometime after 2010. The peppers went through field trials through local seed companies in North America to promote the variety and today, Witch Stick chile peppers are found through online seed catalogs for home garden use or are cultivated and sold through specialty farms at local markets in British Columbia, Japan, and in the United States.
Recipes that include Witch Stick Pepper. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Harmony Valley Farm||Witch Stick Pickled Peppers|