Red Cherry chile peppers are botanically known as Capsicum annuum and are a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family along with potatoes, eggplant and other varieties of peppers. Also known as Hungarian Cherry pepper and Cherry Bomb pepper, the Red Cherry pepper is named as such for its resemblance in size and shape to fruits that share the same name—cherries and cherry tomatoes. The thick flesh of the Red Cherry chile pepper makes them unsuitable for drying. They are most commonly utilized fresh in culinary applications and commercially as a pickled pepper.
Red Cherry chile pepper plants grow in an erect habit reaching about 2 feet in height with stems yielding approximately 15 pods per plant. Red Cherry chile peppers are petite in size, growing at maturity to only 1 to 2 inches in width and height. Their skin is bright red to orange when mature and encases a thick walled red flesh. The chile pods contain numerous white seeds, which are hotter than the flesh of the pepper. The Red Cherry chile pepper has a sweet flavor and a fairly mild to medium heat with a Scoville rating of only 100 – 3500.
Their flavor pairs well with prosciutto, sausage, cream cheese, goat cheese, provolone, tomatillos and pork.
Red Cherry chile peppers are commonly utilized in Hungarian cuisine where they are pickled, brined or smoked whole. Cherry peppers are also an ingredient in cherry pepper shooters—the classic Italian-American antipasto dish. Red Cherry chile peppers are believed to be native to Mexico, South America and Central America. From there they made their way first to the West Indies and later to England in 1759. Red Cherry peppers have been cultivated and mentioned as early as 1586 in botanical texts. The pepper also appeared illustrated in the herbal text, Besler’s Celeberrimi Eystetensis in 1613. Today this rotund Cherry pepper is grown commercially in the United States, Mexico and Europe.