Sweet Pepper, Gernika (Organic)

Capsicum annuum. Green to Red. 50 days green, 85 red.

Mild flavored sweet peppers originally from the Basque region of Spain. The 6″ long, ripe red fruit start to crinkle a little on the plant when mature. We first started growing Gernika when we were searching for an excellent drying pepper for sweet paprika, and they are now our favorite for that purpose. They dry easily and the paprika is deeply flavorful. It wasn’t until we dug deeper that we found another wonderful culinary use: Gernika is famously good when green, fried up in olive oil or grilled with a little salt, much like Padrón peppers. When ripe and red they are used much like Espelette peppers. While not exclusive to the town of Gernika, they are grown throughout the region and can be found at farmers markets. We sourced our original seed from Casey O’Leary of Snake River Seed Cooperative in Idaho. She was given the seed by Lino Zabal, a Basque gardener living in Boise, Idaho, who had been growing them for over 40 years. Casey wrote a great piece in Edible Idaho about the peppers, which you can find here.  Aka, Gernikako Piperrak, Guernica.


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Geographical Origin

Sow indoors in flats with good potting soil as early as February, but no later than April. Keep warm and well-watered. Up pot seedlings into 4” pots when they have their first two true leaves. Transplant out into the garden after danger of frost has passed, typically late May in western Oregon.

Seed Saving

To save seed, wait until fruit is fully ripe. Remove seeds from fruit and dry. Isolate from other pepper varieties of the same species by at least 500 feet.

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  1. Grahame Ware

    A great all-rounder

    Grahame Ware

    Where did you grow this variety? Canada

    Excellent pepper. On the origins of Gernika/Guernica/Guernika (which Basques call choricero).I This is what found at a Basque cooking website in an article entitled, A Guide to Peppers of the Basque Country. They said, “Choricero peppers (also called Guernika or Gernika peppers) are used in three major ways: fried green, or used when red/ripe in chorizo sausage and Biscaya Sauce (salsa vizcaína). When fried green they are sweet and the author Urroz (2010) calls them “one of the crowning delights of Basque cuisine.” They are fried lightly in olive oil until the skin blisters white. Be sure to cut the end so they don’t explode! When mature, choricero peppers are medium sized, red and not particularly spicy. They are dried and used all year round especially for paprika when they get good and ripe.”
    So, this was my experience. When dried and mature (reddish), they made a really good spice that I ground fresh.

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