Pepperoni Lombardo

Lombardo is an old Italian pepperoni variety. It is also known as Lombardi, then already preserved in vinegar or oil. Pepperoni is the Italian term for hot chillies. In the USA, pepperoni refers to a hot salami that is often used as a pizza topping. Therefore the word peperoncini is more precise when we talk about hot chili peppers from Italy.

When and by whom Peperocini arrived in Italy is not exactly clear. What we do know is that tomatoes and chilli peppers became firmly established in Italian cuisine towards the end of the 15th century.

Christopherus Columbus had already brought chilli seeds to Spain on his first journey. In his diaries he describes Spanish pepper as better and healthier than black pepper. One reason for his voyage of discovery was to find a new trade route for spices to India. Columbus was not aware that he had discovered America until his death.

Only a few years later tomatoes were shipped to Europe. First mentioned by Cosimo di Giovanni de’ Medici in 1548, both tomatoes and pepperoni have enriched the cuisine of the people of Italy. It is not impossible that the first tomato varieties with chillies arrived together in Italy. As we know today, several new and tasty varieties have been bred here to this day.

Pepperoni Lombardo
Pepperoni Lombardo

Peperoni Lombardo is named after its first cultivation area in Europe: Lombardy in northern Italy. The region is known for its fertile Po plain. A few years after the discovery of America, the area was fiercely contested by the French, Swiss and Spanish. It would be possible that Chilis were registered around 1500 by Spanish soldiers into the area. This would make Lombardo pepperoni one of the first chilli varieties to grow in Italian soil.

Pepperoni Lombardo (Capsicum annuum)🌶

Chillies, known as chilli peppers, are usually varieties of the Capsicum annuum species. An exception to the elongated chilli varieties would be Peperoncino di Benno (C. frutescens). Like all chillies, Lombardy chillies can be hibernated at least once in your home.

The botanical term for capsaicin annuum (annual) is unfortunately somewhat misleading. But this is also due to our habits to think that in our climate plants die with the first frost. In the natural distribution area, chillies can grow every day of the year. In the case of the “annual” chilli varieties, it is usually around 18 - 24 months in which the full-grown chillies produce their fruit.

Degree of sharpness
Peperoncini Lombardo is considered to be very mild, if not completely without pungency. But relying on it can result in a pronounced coughing fit. You can train to cope with the spiciness of chillies. It is bad, however, if the breeder bites heartily into a supposedly spicefree chili and has to find out that it is not mild at all, as the variety description says.

Lombardi peppers normally reach 0-500 Scoville Heat Units. This corresponds to a degree of sharpness of 0 to 1. However, do not rely on it, because individual peppers also reach a 5th Gerda if the plant was often stressed by environmental influences, the chillies produce more Capsaicin and become sharp.

Use🌶

Peperonis have their own paprika taste. They taste excellent fresh, pickled, stuffed with cheese and grilled. This chilli is often used in Mediterranean salads, antipasti and as a snack in between.

One must in every spicy pizza or pasta sauce are one to two Peperocini. A quick sauce for pizza is quickly stirred:
Take good Italian canned tomatoes such as San Marzano, a handful of fresh tomatoes, garlic, Italian kitchen herbs, olive oil and vegetable broth. One to three hot peppers, depending on the desired heat. Let it simmer for about half an hour.

Perfect to spread on pizza dough before we topple it. Add a few more onions and minced meat and you have a pasta sauce.

In a previous article you will find information on pickling peppers, which are used in Mediterranean countries to preserve these vegetables.

Pepperoni plant🌶

Lombardo plants grow about 80 cm high. Usually have two or three particularly protruding twigs on which almost 15 cm long fruits hang. If the chili has little root space available, it grows much smaller. Sometimes it grows to only 40 cm high and produces few pods. Peperonis like a loose, humus-rich soil. Gladly in the garden or on balcony and indoor in a larger flower tub.

Peperonis are not hardy. The plant shrinks even in the slightest frost. At temperatures below 12 °C, no further growth is to be expected with this variety.

Growing🌶

Dried seeds, for example, can be soaked in diluted chamomile tea. We will leave you there overnight for 8 hours. The next morning, the pepperoni seeds are sown in coconut soil. A heated greenhouse keeps the temperature at 26 °C, which contributes to a good germination rate.

The growing medium must be constantly moist, but not excessively wet. Once a day, the substrate is ventilated for five minutes so that no mould develops. After 14 days, the first cotyledons from the earth will certainly stretch towards the sky.

Start growing in mid-February. From mid-May, you can go out onto the balcony or garden. The date around 15 May should be remembered, because then the last ice saint has had his name day and afterwards no more frost is to be counted on.

Care🌶

Pepperoni plants do not differ in the care of chili plants. No wonder, because they are the same plants. They need a bright location with more than ten hours of sunlight. A warm house wall to the south is a place where Peperocini really feel at home.

Please read our article on watering chillies. Briefly summarized: Take soft water and avoid waterlogging under all circumstances.

Regular checks for pests cannot do any harm. Outside you only need to intervene if the pests take over. Otherwise nature regulates itself quite well. Aphids are followed by ladybirds, for example, which prevent a plague.

Indoors we are more picky about insects. As a preventive measure we hang up yellow stickers and use neem oil as a pesticide.

Fertilizing🌶

In the garden we fertilize the plant with organic fertilizer. This makes the pepperoni big and hearty. When using fertilizer, make sure it is recommended for chili, paprika or tomatoes. Also observe the quantities on the packaging. Chillies do not start to fertilize until the first real leaves have developed. These follow the two cotyledons. Do not pour liquid fertilizers into dry soil. Otherwise the roots will be shocked by a nutrient salt.

On the balcony we prefer long-term fertilizers. Ideally, you only need to add this once at the beginning of the soil. This will then keep as many nutrients free as the roots are prepared to absorb for healthy growth throughout the season.

Harvest🌶

Harvesting takes place about 80 days after flowering. Whether green or red is up to you. We harvest the first times green and later red pods. Only when all are harvested does the chili plant form many new flowers. If we harvest at the right time, it can still come to a second harvest wave.

Cut the pepperonis with a small pair of garden shears. Leave two thirds of the stalk on the chilli.

Hibernation🌶

Pepperoni plant you will spend the winter in the apartment from mid-October. If the night temperatures regularly fall below 12 °C, it is time to bring the plants into your home. A previous treatment with a pesticide is recommended. If a pair of spider mites are hidden between the leaves, they will multiply like rabbits in the warm and dry air of the heating system. Natural enemies are missing in the apartment. So far no better means is known to us as Neemöl as countermeasure. If you should have Tipps, use the place with the comments.

Basically you can cut back chillies and put them in small flower pots. So you vegetate the winter on the windowsill in order to drive out in the next spring. If you like, get some LED grow lamps instead. Freshly harvested chilli peppers in winter make this possible at acceptable electricity costs.

Name Peperoni Lombardo
Species Capsicum annuum
Origin Italy, Lombardy
Plant size 60 - 80 cm
Maturing period 90 days
Sharpness level 0 (0 - 500 Scoville)
Germination period 8 - 14 days
Germination temperature 22 - 28 °C
Planting distance min. 70 cm

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