Seed Saving: intermediate
Senise Pepper (Capsicum annuum)
Senise Pepper (Capsicum annuum): one more wonder from the Pollino National Park – Southern Italy- it holds an IGP certification, and takes its name from the small village of Senise.
The fruits are 11/17 cm long, their colour varies from green to purple, to finally red when fully ripe. There are three types allowed in the guideline: “pointed”, “truncate”, and “hooked” which describe its morphology (shape). They all have a sweet taste and a fundamental characteristic, they have thin skin and little water, which allows for rapid drying. Their stalk also remains firmly attached to the fruit even when ripe which facilitates them being braided together in strings of 1.5 to 2.5 mt long for drying.
In Italy, it’s very easy to find these braids hanging everywhere during the summertime. This pepper is consumed both, green or red, raw, or dried and turned into powder. It is also the main ingredient for making a real delicacy: the Crusco pepper.
Crusco is a preparation of the Senise pepper, the Zafaran ‘Crusk, that is the crunchy pepper. Once harvested, they are stored on clothes away from the light for three days. Then they are stringed together to make garlands which will then be hanged from balconies, the process keeps the typical colour that is the trade mark of the product. After months of hanging, they are cleaned with a cloth, never with water, and fried until puffy and crunchy, the result is a delicious preparation, viscerally loved by anyone who tries it. A true Italian excellence.