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Red Roaster Chile Peppers
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Red Roaster chile peppers are uniform pods with broad shoulders, averaging 10 to 17 centimeters in length and 5 to 7 centimeters in diameter, and have a conical, straight shape tapering to a small point on the non-stem end. The skin is glossy and smooth, bearing a few indentations and shallow folds, and ripens from green to dark red when mature. Underneath the surface, the flesh is thick, crisp, pale red, and aqueous, encasing a central cavity filled with membranes and many small, round and flat cream-colored seeds. Red Roaster chile peppers have an earthy and sweet flavor, void of any heat.
Red Roaster chile peppers are available in the late summer through fall.
Red Roaster chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are a smooth, Italian roasting variety that belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Also known as the Stocky Red Roaster chile pepper, Red Roaster chile peppers are a relatively new variety developed in 2011 by Frank Morton, a plant breeder in Oregon. Since their creation, Red Roaster chile peppers are a popular Italian frying pepper variety that has gained national recognition in the United States for its thick flesh, smooth skin, high yields, and extended storage capabilities. The variety is primarily grown through small farms and home gardeners, but more importantly, the seed is used by scientists for breeding to create improved cultivars.
Red Roaster chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help protect the immune system and increase collagen production within the body. The peppers also contain folate, vitamins A, B6, and E, and potassium.
Red Roaster chile peppers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, frying, and grilling. When fresh, the peppers can be blended into sauces, cream-based dips, tapenade, and salsas, or they can be chopped into salads, diced for bruschetta, and layered onto sandwiches. The peppers can also be sliced and stirred into soups, mixed into pasta, sprinkled over pizza, or stuffed with fillings and roasted. In Italy, Red Roaster chile peppers are popularly fried whole in olive oil and are finished with sea salt and parmesan cheese, or they are served as a light, crisp side dish to cooked meats with cheeses. The pepper’s size and shape also make them ideal for use as a stuffing pepper filled with a combination of ground meat, rice, and cheeses, then roasted or baked. When roasted, the skin can be easily slipped off the flesh, and the flesh can be consumed straight, out-of-hand, or it can be layered with sauces, cheeses, and fresh herbs. Red Roaster chile peppers pair well with herbs such as basil, thyme, and parsley, tomatoes, onions, garlic, meats such as sausage, prosciutto, poultry, beef, and fish, cheeses such as mozzarella, fontina, romano, gruyere, gouda, feta, and parmesan, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, and pasta. Fresh peppers will keep up to one week when stored whole and unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The peppers can also be pickled, frozen, or dried for extended use.
Red Roaster chile peppers have gained notoriety throughout the United States from exposure in numerous studies and competitions such as the 2012 Northern Organic Variety Improvement Cooperative Pepper Trials, where it placed as the top winning selection that year. The peppers were recognized for their high yields, uniform shape, and ability to be cultivated on both coasts. Red Roaster chile peppers are also an Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI) variety, which means the seeds are made available to all growers and are not protected by patents. The variety was pledged in April of 2014, and growers, scientists, and breeders can use the seeds for new variety creation and cultivation in hopes of creating a sustainable agricultural system.
Red Roaster chile peppers were developed by Frank Morton at Wild Garden Seed and were initially introduced by Oregon State University through Corvallis Farm in 2011. Today the seeds are widely available through online seed catalogs and distributors and are grown through small farms and in home gardens across the United States.