Carmen sweet italian pepper

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2006 AAS Edible – Vegetable Winner

Carmen is an improved sweet pepper with an unusual shape. Most gardeners think of a bell shape when “sweet” peppers are mentioned. Not so anymore. Carmen is an Italian bull’s horn type which refers to its elongated shape, about 6 inches long. The medium thick flesh is the sweetest when it is ripe red, but Carmen peppers are sweet even when immature or green. One of the improved traits is the earliness to ripe red. Gardeners can look for red peppers about 75 days after transplanting into warm garden soil. The other improved traits are sweet flavor and high yield. The yield of a pepper plant is determined by its adaptability. Carmen proved to be widely adaptable, flowering and setting fruit over a wide temperature range. Like all peppers, Carmen will produce the highest number of peppers when grown in full sun and given proper nutrients and water.

Carmen plants are productive with an upright, medium height of 28 to 30 inches. This plant size is perfectly adaptable to larger patio containers. Grow Carmen plants with sun-loving, trailing annuals such as verbena to drape over the edge. This is the most trendy combination planter – growing edibles and annuals together. Carmen is easy to grow in gardens or larger sized containers.

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PLANT OF THE WEEK / ‘Carmen’ pepper’Carmen,’ so sweet

  • Pepper Carmen Pepper Carmen Photo: Ho

Photo: Ho Image 1 of / 1



Image 1 of 1 Pepper Carmen Pepper Carmen Photo: Ho PLANT OF THE WEEK / ‘Carmen’ pepper’Carmen,’ so sweet 1 / 1 Back to Gallery

Common name: Pepper F1, ‘Carmen’

Genus/species: Capsicum annuum

Description: A sweet red Italian-type pepper, with a horn shape. Growing on an upright bush, 28-30 inches tall and 16 inches wide, the 6-inch-long tapering fruit averages 2 1/2 inches wide at the shoulder and weighs about 5 ounces; medium-thick-walled peppers are green maturing to dark crimson red.

Propagation: Grow from seed or seedlings.

Cultivation: Start seed indoors in warm soil (85 degrees) eight to 10 weeks before transplanting to garden. Temperatures should be 75 degrees during the day and no colder than 60 degrees at night; peppers need lots of light.

When ground is fully warm, set plants 18 inches apart in sunny spot in the garden or patio container. Easy to grow, the plant will be most productive when grown in full sun, with nitrogen-rich nutrients, such as blood or fish bone meal or composted chicken manure, and water. Keep peppers picked to encourage continued production.

Pests: No information given that this pepper will resist common pepper pests that include tobacco mosaic virus, potato virus or stemphylium.

Comments: ‘Carmen’ is a 2006 All-America Selections vegetable award winner that is sweet even when green, although sweetest when ripe. Adaptable to a wide range of temperatures, ‘Carmen’ matures 75 days from transplanting — about a week earlier than other sweet peppers.

The complete list of All-America Selections winners for 2006 can be viewed at

Source: All-America Selections

Italian Sweet Pepper Care: Tips For Growing Italian Sweet Peppers

Spring sends many gardeners feverishly scanning seed catalogs to find interesting, tasty vegetables to plant. Growing Italian sweet peppers provides an alternative to bell peppers, which often have a hint of bitterness that can impact the palate. Also a variety of Capsicum annuum, the benign flavors of Italian sweet peppers translate seamlessly into a wide variety of dishes and are delicious eaten raw. Plus, their bright colors enhance the senses and create a beautiful plate.

What is an Italian Sweet Pepper?

Choosing the right pepper for your garden will often depend upon how you intend to use them. Hot peppers have their place but overpower many recipes. That is where the Italian pepper can excel. What is an Italian sweet pepper? Peppers are actually a fruit and not a vegetable. Italian sweet pepper uses can fill in for many other fruits used in cooking. Their gentle flavor takes on spicy notes, sugary flavors or adds zest to savory dishes.

The seed packet for these delicious fruits will contain Italian sweet pepper information for growing but rarely

mentions much about their use and flavor. Ripe fruits are bright red or orange. The peppers are much smaller than a bell, elongated, tapered and slightly curved with a glossy, waxy skin. The flesh is not quite as crisp as a bell pepper but has definite tooth appeal.

These are the peppers that are the heart of a classic sausage and pepper sandwich. Other Italian sweet pepper uses include their ability to stew well, remain firm in stir fries, add color and zing to salads and make excellent pickles.

Growing Italian Sweet Peppers

For bumper crops, you should start the seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before your last anticipated frost. Sow in flats with just a dusting of soil on top of the seed. Germination can be expected in 8 to 25 days where flats are kept moist and in a warm location.

When seedlings have two sets of true leaves, move them to larger pots. To transplant sweet peppers outdoors, gradually harden them off for at least a week.

Raised beds are best in soil pH of 5.5 to 6.8. Amend soil with organic material and cultivate to a depth of at least 8 inches (20 cm.). Space plants 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 cm.) apart.

Italian Sweet Pepper Care

These peppers need at least 8 hours of sun per day to set fruit. Initially, plants may need row covering to prevent insect and pest damage. Remove the cover when plants begin to bloom so pollinators can get in and do their work.

A top dress of compost can impart essential minerals, conserve moisture and prevent some weeds. Keep competitive weeds away from the bed, as they steal nutrients and moisture from the plants. Calcium and phosphorus are important nutrients for fruit formation.

Most Italian sweet pepper information lists aphids and flea beetles as the primary insect pests. Use organic pest control to keep the fruits safe to eat and minimize chemical toxicity in the vegetable garden.

Sweet Pepper Seeds – Pepperoncini Italian HEIRLOOM – OPEN POLLINATED

Planting Peppers (Capsicum annuum, sweet or hot)

When to Plant:

  • Peppers are a hardy, warm season crop that enjoys full sun and loamy, well draining soil with a neutral pH.
  • While they are pest tolerant, peppers can be susceptible to mildews so they will prefer a warm and dry climate.
  • Keep in mind however, that while pepper plants grow well in warm summer temperatures, many varieties will wait until nights begin to reach cooler temperatures to produce the bulk of their harvest.

How to Plant:

  • Peppers, hot or sweet, can be quite easy to grow, but a little patience is required. Most varieties will take at least 85 days from sprouting to harvest.
  • For best results, seeds should be started indoors approximately 8-10 weeks before last expected frost date. Temperatures must be at least 70 degrees for good germination rates.
  • When starting seeds, it is recommended to start three to a pot and thin the weakest seedling, leaving the remaining two to grow as one plant.
  • Approximately one week before transplanting outdoors, harden off seedlings and prepare your plot with fertilizer or organic material, making sure your soil temperatures are at least 65 degrees consistently, or else seedlings will not survive the transplant.
  • Seedling pairs should be placed about 18 to 24 inches apart.
  • They need a well drained bed, but consistent moisture is also important — plastic sheeting or mulch can be good ideas for retaining moisture, but a drip irrigation system can be a good approach as well.
  • Peppers will appreciate a stake or cage for stability, especially when they begin to fruit.
  • Put a few match heads and a teaspoon of fertilizer in the hole before planting, peppers like the sulfur.

When to Harvest:

  • Harvest your peppers when they are firm and full.
  • You can pick them while still green, but the more you let them ripen the sweeter they will be.

Grilled Eggplant and Carmen Pepper Pizza

Grilling pizza at home on your BBQ is the next best thing to having a wood-burning pizza oven in your backyard. Lightly smoked, crispy crust and gooey cheese make this grilled eggplant and Carmen pepper pizza irresistible.

During a weekend get-away to Downieville, California, I was introduced to a great little gardening shop on Main Street, that was quaint and relaxing. We wandered through the small shop wanting to bring everything home. The small containers of fresh herbs filled the small space with an aroma that reminded me of a small kitchen in Italy. Rosemary was dancing everywhere, we were eager to get home and cook. We were really intrigued by the many different pepper plants, it was the greatest assortment we had ever seen in a gardening shop. We settled on two new-to-us plants, the Carmen Pepper and the Caliente Pepper, one was spicy and one was sweet. Perfect harmony for our urban garden.

Summer fest is all about peppers this week. I kept hoping that our peppers would make it until now, and they did and they are finally starting to fully ripen. For this recipe, I decided to use the Carmen pepper. This pepper is a sweet roasting pepper, and it grows to about 6″ in length. It is great roasted or grilled, the latter being what I decided to do with our bumper crop of 5 peppers. Grilling them until lightly charred added a tasty dimension to this otherwise sweet pepper. Really they were great on their own, with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of Maldon salt, and were even better on this pizza.

This pizza recipe combines grilled eggplant in addition to the Carmen peppers. There is also lots of fresh mozzarellas and thinly sliced red onion to round out this amazing vegetarian pizza. We think you are going to love it.

Be sure to check out these pepper recipes from other Sumer Fest food bloggers. Next week will be about one of our favorite summer fruits, the fig!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: How to Use Bell Peppers Six Ways
Feed Me Phoebe: Spanish-Style Shrimp and Squid Skewers with Red Pepper Sofrito
Dishing: Bell Peppers Chutney/ Capsicum Chutney
The Lemon Bowl: Red Pepper Salsa
Weelicious: Bell Pepper Egg Flowers
Dishin & Dishes: Chicken, Poblano, Spinach and Mushroom Quesadillas
Domesticate Me: Brown Rice Jambalaya with Shrimp, Chicken Sausage and Bell Peppers
Taste With The Eyes: Cheeseburger Bloody Mary with Cherry Peppers and Pickles
Blue Apron Blog: Roadside Noodles with Bell Peppers, Tomatoes and Broccoli Raab
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Italian Pork Chops with Peppers and Chiles on Buttered Egg Noodles
Red or Green: Green Chile Pork Stew
Devour: Stuffed Peppers 5 Ways
The Heritage Cook: Poblano Pepper, Corn and Potato Chowder
Daily*Dishin: Marinated Peppers and Shrimp New Orleans Style
FN Dish: Sensational Stuffed Peppers

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pizza dough – use homemade or store-bought


tomato sauce

2 small eggplant – used an Italian version but use what you like

3 carmen peppers or other sweet peppers if you cannot find Carmen

1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced

4 ounces fresh mozzarella

a drizzle of olive oil

maldon salt

egg – optional

How To:

Preheat BBQ grill to 400.

Cut the eggplant into slices and lightly coat both sides with olive oil. Place on the grill.

Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Lightly coat with olive oil, then place on the grill.

Grill over medium-low heat for 4 – 5 minutes, then flips everything over. Grill for another 4 -5 minutes until lightly charred.

While the veggies are grilling, roll out 1/4 of the pizza dough onto a floured surface.

Place the rolled out crust on a cookie sheet or a pizza peel that has been lightly dusted with some cornmeal. This prevents sticking.

Once the eggplant and peppers are finished grilling, remove and set aside. Let cool slightly, then cut into thin slices.

Lightly oil the grate of your grill – do not burn yourself.

Place the pizza dough on the grill and cook for 2 minutes. Flip with tongs and grill for another 2 minutes.

Remove the dough from the grill, and place on a cutting board.

Spread a small amount of tomato sauce on the pizza crust. Then layer the cheese, eggplant slices and red onion on top of the crust. Scatter the Carmen peppers over the top.

Place the pizza back on the grill.

Drizzle lightly with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some Maldon salt and grill until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted. This will take about 5 – 8 minutes depending on how hot the grill is. I keep the temperature at about 350 – 400.

If you want to add our egg to your pizza, place a raw egg in the center of the pizza and cover with the grill lid. It will take about 10 – 12 minute to cook the egg.


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AAS Winner Carmen Pepper in Caponata Quinoa Salad

Easy Recipes from Your Garden Using AAS Winners!

Jonathan Bardzik, culinary storyteller, entertainer, and horticulture industry veteran, presents delicious, easy-to-make recipes featuring AAS Winning edible – vegetables. Enjoy this delicious Italian bull’s horn type sweet pepper AAS Winner Carmen in this easy-to-make, delectable caponata salad.

Your Family is Going To LOVE It!

You know that you have the best when you grow AAS Winners. After eighty+ years of conducting trials where only the best performers are declared AAS Winners, the organization now has more than 330 individual edible varieties that have been “Tested Nationally & Proven Locally.”

Plant AAS Winner Carmen Pepper in your Garden and Enjoy This Recipe All Summer Long!

Carmen F1 is an Italian bull’s horn type of pepper which refers to its elongated shape, about 6 inches long. The medium thick flesh is the sweetest when it is allowed to ripen to red, but Carmen peppers are sweet even when immature or green. One of the improved traits of this variety is the earliness to ripen red.

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