Senise Peppers – Peperoni di Senise

Senise peppers are among the most representative products of the Lucanian fruit and vegetable range, typical of the culture and gastronomical tradition of the valleys between the Sinni and Agri rivers.
They were one of the first denominated Lucanian products being awarded the Igp mark in 1996.
The most characteristic recipe is for crunchy peppers (“cruschi”) that are fried for just a few seconds in olive oil.
They are usually used as a side dish with stockfish, roast meat or sausages.
Fresh peppers are also used in vegetable soups.
The pepper powder is used for seasoning soups, pasta or pulses and is also used as an antioxidant and natural colouring to spice up many typical Lucanian cold meats.
The cultivation area for Senise peppers bridges both the Potenza and Matera provinces and many of the municipalities involved, including Senise itself, are located inside the Pollino National Park.
The bullhorn-shaped pepper is sweet and becomes red when completely ripe.
Igp Senise peppers are local ecotypes that can be distinguished from other peppers by their greater percentage of salts and vitamin C and their low water content.
These characteristics, together with the fineness of the pulp and the fact that the stalk does not fall off during drying, make these peppers unique and their natural drying process exclusive.
Cultivation follows the instructions in the production regulations.
Phyto-sanitary interventions are only made when necessary and precautionary calendar treatments are forbidden.
Picking usually begins during the first ten days of August.
Senise peppers are sold both fresh and dried, threaded onto strings called “serte”, or ground into powder.
The “serte” are made by threading the peppers one by one from their stalk with a needle and arranging them spirally around the string until they between
150-200 cm in length.
After drying, which is done in the open air and in the shade, the “strings” can be bagged and sold as they are or ground to make powder.
All of the packets carry a numbered label which clearly shows the Igp logo, the authorisation number granted by the controlling body and the lot number.