Also known as Cubanelle, Gypsy Pepper is an heirloom, hybrid type of pepper native to the United States. It is a hand-bred cross between a bell and sweet Italian rams horn pepper with the looks of jalapeño. It averages around 4 to 6 inches long and 2 inches wide. With its long length and wide cavity comes a lobe that looks like a bell pepper, but its tapering shape resembles that of jalapeño. It has a thin skin that starts as whitish or yellowish-green. As it matures, it transitions to yellow, orange, and finally red. Despite this, it can be harvested at any stage of maturity. Likewise, it provides a crisp, succulent, and juicy texture. It has a very sweet yet slightly acidic flavor, accompanied by mild floral notes. It doesn’t provide any heat at all that it’s classified at 0 Scoville Units. Thus, it’s noted for its prolific sweetness, which is intensified as the pepper ripens. It is best consumed raw, but its skin or walls are thick enough for frying and stuffing too.
Nevertheless, it is the Petoseed Company that we should thank for the existence of these peppers. Since 1950, this seed company from Southern California is noted for its hybridization of peppers and tomatoes. It’s also known for the production of seed varieties that can resist certain diseases. As a matter of fact, when a disease almost wiped out San Diego, California in the early 1970s, Petoseed bred a tomato that is resistant to the disease. As a result, the tomato industry came back and the company got the credit. In 1980, the tobacco mosaic virus struck again. But this time, Petoseed bred gypsy pepper to resist this disease. A year later, the pepper was given the distinction for its garden value. Nowadays, gypsy peppers are being grown principally by small farms. Thus, they are mostly available for purchase in specialty grocers and farmers’ markets across the United States and Mexico.
Family: Solanaceae (Nightshade)
Genus: Capsicum (Pepper)
Species: Capsicum Annuum
Binomial Name: Capsicum Annuum ‘Gypsy’