Italian Long Hot Peppers are mild, sweet peppers popular in Italian cooking, though they have become popular in the United States for their versatility. Learn more about them.
Scoville Heat Units: 100 to 1,000 SHU
While internet craze and online trends may have taken the interest in chilies and peppers to the next level, there is no doubt that these fruity little spice bombs have always been an important staple in most cuisines across the globe. Many people love the daring kick and punch that a good chili provides, since the spiciness adds a new dimension to any given meal. It enhances the color, adds to the flavor, and makes the dish so much richer and complex.
But a chili does not necessarily have to be the hottest thing on the planet to be flavorful. One prime example is the Italian Long Hot.
How Hot are Italian Long Hots?
Italian Long Hots are known for their spice levels but for the opposite reason as opposed to most of their counterparts. These peppers are nowhere near the heat intensity of the likes of a serrano, habanero, or even a jalapeno. In fact, Long Hots are mild, sweet peppers that have a rating ranging between 100 to 1000 Scoville Heat Units on the Scoville Scale.
What Does an Italian Long Hot Look Like?
These peppers have a very characteristic, elongated shape that gives the chili part of its name. Italian Long Hots are typically around 6 to 8 inches long and have a gangly, thin body that curves and sways, taking up unique forms. They are green in their younger stages and ripen to a bright red shade as they mature and fully develop their flavor, with striations and mixed hues as they develop.
What Are Italian Long Hots Used For?
Italian Long Hots are trusted companions for many culinary experts. They are the perfect addition to any dish on the top or as a side; as some fried, extra crispy goodness, or a fresh bite to break through the heaviness of the meal. They can be used either green or red to achieve flavorful yet not overly spicy foods.
The flavor of Italian Long Hot becomes even bolder when they are smoked and roasted. Since the outer membranes and skin of the Italian Long Hots are super thin, they can be easily charred or lightly fried to bring out a delicious sweetness and smokiness.
You will find these chilies to be a common garnish on a lot of fast food, including sandwiches, Hoagies, and pizzas. They serve to add a bit of fresh bite and crunch. They can be added to sauces, marinades, pastas, and salsas in chopped and pureed forms.
When added to meals during cooking, they are incorporated whole, with the skin and the seeds included.
Their mild spice levels and sweet flavor also allows them to be used in large quantities in sides, salads, and appetizers. Sometimes, all you need to do is fry them up lightly with some salt and olive oil.
While they would taste delicious stuffed, their thin bodies and walls do not have enough capacity or structural integrity to withstand filling.
What Do Italian Long Hots Taste Like?
Italian Long Hots have a unique taste that is different from most chili peppers. They are sweet and tangy, having a rich and complex flavor profile that is accentuated by very mild undertones of spice. The spice level varies from pepper to pepper, going from sweet, barely spicy to mild spice.
Where to Buy Italian Long Hots From?
As suggested by the name, Italian Long Hots originate from Italy. They can be found commonly in markets in the country since they are used very often in all kinds of dishes. In the United States, Italian Long Hots are particularly popular in the Northeast region, particularly Philadelphia. You can, however, find them with little difficulty in other states as well. They are often available in jars with preservatives in either grocery stores or online markets.
You can also get seeds for the Italian Long Hot plant and grow it in your own home. They are relatively easy to grow in home environments as they do not need a lot of water. All you need to do is make sure they get ample amounts of sunshine.
What is a Long Hot Substitute?
The heat rating of the Italian Long Hot puts it in close proximity with bell peppers or capsicums, although the former are much more complex in their flavor profile than the latter. They can also be substituted by cubanelle peppers or the pepperoncini to achieve similar levels of spiciness and tanginess. Another substitute for Long Hots is Anaheim peppers.