Padron peppers from greenmarkets
Has anyone else found these to be way too spicy? I've seen some vendors market them as "one in eight are spicy (the Russian roulette of peppers!)," but when I ate these in Spain they were very mild. I sauteed a Padron pepper I got from the market last week and had to run for the milk after biting into it.
Maybe it has to do with the growing conditions here or season we've had. I'm just wondering if anyone has any thoughts/insight into this.
re: penthouse pup
Excellent observation. It all depends on size. If picked very young and small (as they do in Spain), they'll all be very mild. If you can buy them lose, make sure you pick out only the smallest ones. To my taste, even the hottest ones are not too incendiary to eat. You just have to develop a taste for "heat." I'd rank mature Padrons about the same as jalapenos, maybe a little milder.
This year, just for giggles, I'm going to try growing some Padrons in very large containers (18"H by 22"W.) I was able to get about 2 dozen of them from a landscaper who was throwing them away after planting the shrubs that had come in them. I'll use the compost that the city gives away to residents, so my total investment will be very minimal. I'll try containers with just a single plant and a few with multiple plants to see how much I can crowd them without sacrificing yield.
I've grown them in my garden for several years and had huge crops of peppers. They're one of the earliest crops to be ready for picking because they're picked so young. Last year, I was picking Padrons in mid-June and had way more then I could use by July 4th. I firmly believe that growing conditions have absolutely no effect on spiciness; it's all a matter of maturity. BTW, spicy chilies are just as plagued by insects (especially pepper maggots) as the mild ones. Padrons, if picked young - as they should be - are not bothered by pepper maggots since they are picked really small. If allowed to mature, they'll be full of pepper maggots. There's no need to even think about spraying; it's not necessary. Jalapeno peppers are exactly opposite. Even habanero peppers are extremely susceptible to pepper maggots, so that disproves the theory that hotter peppers are in any way immune to pepper maggots. (After more than 60 years of growing peppers, I'm somewhat of an expert.) I haven't gotten crazy enough to grow bhut jolokia, yet!
Growing conditions do have an effect on the amount of spiciness in many peppers/chiles. The amount of spiciness, it turns out, is a defense mechanism in chiles to ward off bugs and other organisms. So, the same chile grown in a dry region and a humid region will produce peppers with varying levels of heat. Hot humid regions tend to grow spicier peppers. It's well known that with the same chili grown in Japan and Korea, the Korean chili is milder. I would imagine the same with padron peppers grown in Spain and in the US east coast.
I've purchased them several times from two vendors at the Union Square market. I have not found t hem to be spicy at all, but each person has a different spice tolerance. They tell you the same thing in Spain, about one in several being spicy. They are available today, if anyone is interested.
Union Square Greenmarket
Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003