The Fresno pepper grows to be about two to three inches long, is slightly curved, and has smooth skin. It was first grown in 1952 by Clarence Brown Hamlin, who named the pepper after Fresno, California. It ripens from green to red and has a mild heat level. Many people confuse Fresnos with Jalapeno peppers and Santa Fe Grande peppers because they look similar, but they have some distinct differences. Fresno peppers have thinner walls and the heat level of the Fresno pepper is slightly higher once it ripens. Fresno peppers also have a smokier, fruitier taste compared to a Jalapeño.
The heat level of the Fresno pepper is similar to the Serrano Tampiqueno as it averages about 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville Heat Units. The more complex flavors of the red Fresno compared to the Jalapeno has made this a favorite among pepper growers and gourmet restaurants. Fresno peppers are very popular for salsa and hot sauce because they're easy to grow and have delicious flavor.