a photo of dried macedonian and other bright red chili peppers behind a blue fence

Rezha Macedonia: A Pepper with a Unique Twist

There’s a good chance that Rezha Macedonian peppers are unlike any other pepper you’ve seen. With rough, scarred skin, a twisty corkscrew, and richly flavored flesh, these are truly unique pepper.

Facts about
Rezha Macedonia

Heat level:
1,000 – 8,000
Capsicum annuum

What are Rezha Macedonian peppers?

Originating from Macedonia and neighboring Balkan countries, this unique pepper is known for its intricate skin, covered in tiny horizontal striations that make it look like it has been engraved or embroidered — which is where it gets its name! Rezha, in Macedonian, means engraved, and another common name for the pepper is Vezeni Piperki, which means “embroidered”.

These peppers grow to be around 6-8″ long and are often twisted or corkscrewed in shape.

How hot are they?

1,000 – 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

Rezha Macedonian peppers are generally considered to be mild to medium in terms of spiciness. On the Scoville scale, which measures the heat of peppers, they typically range from 1,000 to 8,000 Scoville units, which is a pretty wide range! A milder Macedonian pepper may have just barely detectable heat, while a spicier one may be similar to a jalapeño.

What do they taste like?

Rezha Macedonian peppers have been described in a wide number of ways: sweet, tangy, apple-y, nutty, fruity, smokey, and earthy. One thing is for sure: they have a great depth of flavor. This flavor profile makes it a great option for roasting and grilling.

The heat from the pepper is usually felt on the back of the throat rather than the tongue, and the hotter peppers can be quite intense for those who are not accustomed to spicy food.

Rezha Macedonian vs. cayenne peppers

While the Rezha Macedonian pepper has some similarities to the Cayenne pepper, it has even more differences. The Rezha Macedonian pepper is larger and denser than most Cayenne peppers, with a sweet flavor and a significantly lower heat level. The heat is mostly concentrated near the stem, where the seeds are located. In contrast, Cayenne peppers are smaller and hotter than the Rezha Macedonian pepper, with a thin skin and a spicy flavor that is evenly distributed throughout the fruit.

Common culinary uses

While some people use Macedonian peppers as a snacking pepper, most people don’t enjoy the unique texture of their skin raw. Instead, they are roasted whole or split down the middle to bring out their rich, slightly smoky flavor. Their thick flesh and naturally low moisture content also make them ideal for drying and grinding into pepper flakes or chili powder. Rezha Macedonian peppers are great for making hot sauce and add a unique touch to any dish that calls for a mildly spicy pepper.

How to grow rezha Macedonian peppers

Growing Rezha Macedonian peppers is similar to most other peppers. They should be started indoors 8-10 weeks before your local last frost date and transplanted into the garden well after the danger of frost has passed. The fruits can be harvested around 80 days after the transplant date once the fruit has matured into a deep orangish red. These peppers are self-pollinating, so you can get by with just one plant.

Main image credit: Franco Pecchio (CC BY-SA 2.0)