Sunday, November 22, 2015

Field Guide to Peppers: 400 Varieties, Where They Come From, How Hot They are, Dave DeWitt and Jamie Lamson. Timber Press, 2015

Dave DeWitt has been working with peppers for decades, is the founder of Chile Pepper magazine, and has been dubbed “The Pope of Peppers”. Jamie Lamson is the “Chile Goddess”, and the owner of, which grows 500 varieties of hot and sweet peppers and ships plants in spring and fresh chilies in September. This duo is uniquely suited to write the definitive book on peppers.

The book covers the five main domesticated species of peppers; Capsicum annuum has a number of subsets such as jalapenos, Europeans, pimentos, wax, Asians, and bells so that section is subdivided. Did you know that there are 27 different named cultivars of cayenne peppers alone? Each entry has a color photograph, the cultivar name, where the pepper first came into cultivation, the size of the plant and of the pod, the time to harvest, and the heat level. Here’s the only problem I have with the book: they give the heat levels by ‘mild, medium, hot,” etc instead of the Scoville units for the peppers. There is a chart that tells what the range of Scoville units is for each category, but still, ‘Medium’ covers 2500 to 10,000 Scoville units and that’s a heck of a range. I’d prefer to see the actual SHU for each pepper. Some entries also have comments about the pepper, such as uses in cuisine, growing tips, etc.

I think it’s a great book; I get so confused looking over huge sections of pepper seeds and wondering how they compare to each other. This book will unravel a lot of that confusion.This would be a great reference for the chile head on your holiday gift giving list! 

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The above is an affiliate link; if you click through and buy something- anything- Amazon will give me a few cents. 

I received my copy free from Net Galley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my review.