Gogosari pepper

Ark of taste
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The Gogosari pepper (a variety of Capsicum annuum) is an annual plant that is widely cultivated for its large, sweet and fleshy peppers characterized by a flattened, rounded shape and a convex surface burgundy red in color. Individual peppers weigh 200-250 grams and are highly prized for their compact, juicy pulp, which is thicker and crispier than other varieties. The peppers have a highly appreciated sweet taste. This variety has been grown in central eastern Romania for about a century. This pepper variety is widely used fresh in salads, cooked in a pan, stuffed, canned pickled or marinated in sweet and sour sauce. Another recipe made with the peppers and other local ingredients is zacusca pier, a type of vegetable spread.

The cultivation of Gogosari peppers is difficult. After being transplanted at the end of May it takes about 80-90 days for the peppers to begin to mature. They are harvested by hand along with their stem and stored upright in jute in groups of 25-30 kg, to then be sold at the local market of Focşani. Gogosari are available from September to early November thanks to three successive harvests. Seeds from the most attractive fruits are dried for future plantings. The seeds are round and flat, with a diameter of about 3.5 mm and a golden yellow or ashy-yellow color. One fruit contains 100-300 seeds, which can be stored for up to four or five years.

In the early 1920s, the city of Garoafa in the province of Vrancea redistributed land to peasants, and after the Second World War, Communist Agriculture swept through the region. However, this did not prevent local farmers from preserving the tradition of planting this pepper variety for their own personal consumption. After 45 years of Communist rule, Romanian agricultural traditions began from where they were left off before. However, the area devoted to pepper cultivation in Romania is gradually decreasing. The Gogosari pepper can still be found for commercial sale in the area, but as elderly farmers cease cultivating this pepper and passing down the know-how of doing so to younger generations, this variety risks being lost. Without government support, younger generations have moved out of rural areas and left agricultural traditions behind.

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