I have had great luck with the hybrids Carmen and Gypsy. Either one, when ripe, has a sweet delicious flavor to compete with any bell pepper. The green flavor isn't exactly the same as a bell, but still does nicely in a salad or cooked up.
Edited to add the link rather than just mention that the article exists.
Jill's article is excellent. In general I find the non bells more productive than the regular bells, altho I don't have major problems with bells. It depends somewhat on your desired use. The frying peppers are the most productive, but many are not a good size and shape for stuffing. The old Melrose is one the more productive, but bull horn types like Italia are also productive and are large enough to stuff. Sweet Banana types are good for many purposes and are productive. Best alternative to traditional bells are the Cubanelle types. More productive than a traditional bell, but the elongated shape is not as desirable to many folks for stuffing.
I highly recommend Red Cheese and Sweet Yellow Stuffing, two open-pollinated varieties from Baker Creek. Excellent taste and great production. Neither are very large, though. Doux d' Espagne, also from Baker Creek, has good size, just not as productive. That seems to be the rule. You have to choose between either size or quantity.
Already I can see that I need more than one sweet non-bell type. I think I'll have to grow fewer bells and more of the one's you recommended. Thanks all, I've got them on my list!
Dave, Jill's article was just what I needed. I tried her suggested 'Carmen' (from a seed swap) several years ago, but it was a bad summer for lots of crops and probably wasn't a fair test. I'll have to try it again with commercial seed.
Don, the Quadrato d'asti also comes in Red but it's a Bell Pepper. I like how it tastes but it's not as productive as non-bells. I would recommend Marconi as a non bell. It's a little later to ripen but it can really produce. It is O/P and comes in red, yellow and purple, but can be used green, I get seeds from Baker Creek but I've seen them in many catalogs. They are frying peppers, like Farmerdill described above, but they are great fresh too. They are so productive that my plants normally need to be stalked.
1: (if I may use your nickname)
Thanks for the correction. I must have checked the wrong column in my spreadsheet for Q d'A. I think I'll have to make room for a banana (haven't decided which, yet), Carmen, and a Marconi pepper. I see that suppliers list both red, yellow and purple Marconis and also a Giant Marconi and Super Marconi so I'll have to check the differences between them. Which one do you recommend?
Jeez, you are so polite. You can call me whatever you want, just not to my face. Lol Lisa is fine, I THINK the Gaint and Super Marconis are hybrid but I'm not sure. I just grow the regular ones bc they are O/P. I don't have anything against hybrids I just have to stop somewhere. I also like them bc of the various colors they make cooking fun, and they look nice when used raw.
I grew five plants of Corno di Toro this year, and I thought they were great. They're a big, thick-walled, bulls-horn shaped non-bell and I allowed them to ripen red before picking. They were very productive and the flavor was the best we've had in salsas, for frying, and all uses.
Just wanted to let you know how things turned out.
Sweet Banana was the most productive, tons of fruit on each plant.
Carmen had good looking (and tasting) peppers, but not very many of them.
I tried some others (Quadrato, Corno), but because of a problem with my seed growing medium, none made it to maturity. I'll try them again next year, and maybe the Baker Creek varieties also.
Thanks a lot for the recommendations.
Doux d' Espagne (Spanish Mammoth), Red Cheese, Giant Aconcagua, and Buran. Of these, Buran and Red Cheese are the sweetest. Fat n' Sassy is a bell that does well in our ridiculously hot summers, though.
Thought I'd update my results a year later.
Carmen and Gypsy were both good tasting, but only one or two peppers per plant. Don't think I'll continue planting these.
Corno di Toro Rosso were very productive but also very slow in ripening. They are just now showing touches of red, and I am taking the containers into the garage each night to avoid frost. I'll probably have to settle for splotchy corno di toro rosso-verde this year.
Golden Treasure gave me 4 or 5 good sized gold peppers on one plant.
Thanks for the tip, Cville_ , I'll try Giant Marconi next year.
Concur: Giant Marconi is vigourous and an exceptional yielding plant. It has the size of a cubanelle or a small lamuyo type bell. If you into stuffed peppers, an excellent alternative to traditional bells.