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All About Chile Peppers

all-about-chile-peppers

All About Chile Peppers – Taking a bite of fresh chile might not lead the eater to guess that chiles are in the same botanical family as potatoes, eggplants, and tomatoes. Chiles contain capsaicin, an oil that tricks the brain into feeling pain, which leads to the release of endorphins—causing what chile-lovers call a “chile high.” To reduce the amount of heat in chiles, remove the white-ish veins, where the capsaicin is most highly concentrated, and the seeds, the secondary location of capsaicin.

Chiles get their heat from a group of chemical compounds called capsaicinoids, the best known being capsaicin. Capsaicin in a chile is concentrated mostly in the inner whitish pith (called ribs), with progressively smaller amounts in the seeds and flesh. If you like a lot of heat, you can use the entire chile when cooking. If you prefer a milder dish, remove the ribs and seeds. Here are some selected chile peppers.

All-About-Chile-Peppers-Jalapeno

All About Chile Peppers JALAPENO

Jalapeños might be the best-known hot chiles in the U.S. They are smooth, green, shiny, and plump looking. They were once famous for their heat and our typically used in making salsas and jalapeno poppers.

Jalapeños ripen to red and red jalapeños can sometimes be found for sale. Many chiles labeled “red jalapeños” are, however, really Fresno chiles.

When allowed to ripen to red, jalapeños are often dried and smoked, at which point they are called chipotles.

Jalapenos are moderately hot and have a bright, grassy flavor similar to a green bell pepper. They can be dark green or scarlet red.


All-About-Chile-Peppers-Chipolte

CHIPOTLE

Smoky, sweet, and moderately spicy, chipotle chiles are jalapenos that have been smoked over aromatic wood and dried. They are sold as is or canned in adobo, a tangy tomato and-herb sauce.

It’s OK to use canned chipotles; they can be added straight to a dish and they last indefinitely when frozen.

Chipotle Peppers are smoked, dried jalapeno peppers. Most jalapenos are sold green. However, as jalapeno peppers age, they turn red on the vine as they fully ripen and eventually begin to dry. These red jalapeño peppers are plucked and smoked for days with soaked wood until dried, turning them into chipotle peppers.


All-About-Chile-Peppers-Poblano

All About Chile Peppers POBLANO

Poblano chiles are large (about the size of a child’s hand), bell or even heart shaped, and often slightly flat. They are very dark green and shiny. They can be hot  but are usually relatively mild and good for stuffing (as in these Beef Stuffed Chiles). Poblanos are quite bitter when raw, but turn noticeably sweeter when roasted.

When allowed to ripen to red and dried, poblano chiles become ancho chiles.

These chiles are very dank green in color-sometimes nearly black. When ripe, they turn a reddish-brown. Poblanos have a fruity, subtly spicy flavor. Thanks to their large size, they are also ideal for stuffing. Poblanos can be found in Latin markets and many supermarkets. Their peak season is summer and early fall. When dried, they are known as ancho chiles and have a rich, earthy flavor.


Chile-Peppers-Poblano-Anaheim

ANAHEIM

With their acidic, lemony flavor, mild spiciness, and crisp texture, these popular chiles can be eaten raw, roasted. or fried.

Anaheim chiles are also frequently stuffed or used in salsa. Anaheim chiles are medium green in color and have a long, tapered shape. When dried, they are called New Mexico or Colorado Chiles. These long, slim chiles are known as either Anaheim chiles or, especially when from the state, New Mexico chiles. Their heat level varies tremendously, from quite mild to very hot. They are fresh and green or dried and red.


All-About-Chile-Peppers-Serrano

All About Chile Peppers SERRANO

Similar in appearance to jalapenos but with a slightly more slender shape and brazen heat, these chiles have a fresh, clean, fruity flavor. They are good both raw in salsa and cooked in chilis and curries.

Serrano chiles are shiny green, slim, and narrow. Like jalapeños, they have a herby, even grass-like flavor; they are usually quite a bit hotter than jalapeños, however. They work beautifully in salsas and guacamoles for those who like things hot.


Chile-Peppers-Habanero

HABANERO

These small, lantern-shaped chiles pack intense heat. They have a floral, fruity flavor that makes them-when used sparingly-·a great addition to marinades, salsas, and cooked dishes. Habaneros range from light green to orange to in color.

Habaneros are widely known as the hottest chiles out there, even though Scotch Bonnet chiles, which look almost identical, give them a run for their money. Both start out green and turn yellow, then a brilliant bright sunny orange, and finally red when ripe. Habaneros are primarily grown in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, where they are used extensively.

People who love shocking heat can use habaneros in chiles and marinades; most palates will find even a small amount of habanero to be quite hot. They are worth seeking out and trying, however, because they have an amazingly perfumed taste that is more complex than other chiles.


All-About-Chile-Peppers-Thai

THAI

These tiny, multicolored chiles look ornamental, but they mean business. They have a flavor similar to that of black peppercorns and a bold, lingering heat. They are best when used sparingly in cooked dishes. The bird chile is the dried form.

Thai peppers are spicy chili peppers with a wide range of heat, and despite common belief, there is no single type of Thai pepper, with at least 79 separate varieties.


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