I came across these Melrose Peppers at Valli Produce this weekend. Intrigued I had to buy them. I always buy a few peppers of a variety I've never heard of and Valli is probably the best place to find unique peppers in Rockford outside of a farmer's market.

When I came home I went to the internet to find out what to do with them. First I went to YouTube and only two results came back.

This one:

Which will probably how I will prepare them later this week. I like this lady and would definitely let her cook for me.

And this one:

That honestly I couldn't really make it all the way through because it seemed like the guy cooking and the woman filming were in some sort of domestic dispute. There was a palpable tension through the whole video. I don't need that kind of energy in my cooking.

Then I did some straight googling of Melrose Peppers and found out that it's somewhat of a Chicago delicacy.

The Chicago Tribune did a story on the peppers back in 2017 titled The story of the Melrose pepper, a sweet vegetable with deep Chicago roots. It tells the story of Italian immigrants in the early 1900s taking up residence in the western burb of Melrose Park and had brought these seeds with them. The Italians started growing them there and they colloquially became known as Melrose peppers.

Delectable, tender and sweet, and named after their new American hometown, Melrose peppers have come to be among the most beloved fruits of the local Italian-American backyard garden. Each pepper is about 4 to 6 inches long, with thin skin and, despite the resemblance to hot chiles, zero heat. When harvested young and green, a Melrose pepper tastes like a super-sweet, green bell pepper; when fully ripe and brilliant red, these beauties are all the sweeter and richer.

I also took to Twitter to ask some of my Chicago friends that cook if they had any idea what to do with the peppers.


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