the chief misconception about chiles is their red-hot reputation.
Many are fiery hot, butmany others are sweet, mild, or richly flavored.
Their hotness is concentrated in the interior veins or ribs near the seed
heart, not in the seeds as is commonly believed. (The seeds taste extra
hot because they are in close contact with the hot veins.)
when the pepper is cut open, the vein have a yellowish orange color in
that area, it usually indicates the pepper will be a potent one.
spelling of the word "chile" is used here as it is used by Mexicans.
Because American spice companies label their ground chile blends "chili"
you will encounter that spelling in recipes using the purchased ground
than 140 varieties of chiles are grown in Mexico alone. Those that follow
are most popular in the United States and used in most Mexican cooking
Probably the most familiar pepper in the United States, the green and red
bell peppers are squarish and fist-size. Green peppers turn red in the
fall, becoming sweeter and milder, yet retaining their crisp, firm texture.
This chile looks and tastes very much like ordinary bell pepper but can
be considerably more peppery at times. Tapered rather than square, it is
firmer, less crisp, more waxy-looking. It turn a bright red and sweetens
up in the fall. When dry, it assumes a flat, round shape and wrinkles up
like a prune.
Green Chiles (Anaheim).
Fresh, these peppers are 5 to 8 inches long, 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.
tapering to a point, usually a bright, shiny green. The flavor ranges from
mild and sweet to moderate hot. to use fresh peppers, peel the skin from
the chiles. When using fresh or canned, taste for hotness - they can vary
greatly from pepper to pepper.
Bright green, changing to orange and red when fully matured. Fresno chiles
have a conical shape - about 2 inches long and 1 inch in diameter at the
stem end. They are often just labeled "hot chile peppers" when
canned or bottled.
These peppers have thicker flesh, darker green color , and more cylindrical
shape than Fresno chiles; however, the heat level of the two varieties
is about the same - HOT! Canned and bottled peppers are sometimes labeled
"hot peppers with jalapeño as a subtitle. They are always available
in sauce form as salsa jalapeña, and pickled.
The true pasilla is a long, thin pepper 7 to 12 inches long by 1 inch in
diameter. Pasillas turn from dark green to dark brown as they mature.
These heart-shaped chiles are purchased canned in the United States. The
flesh is softer and a little sweeter than the common red bell pepper.
Dynamite-hot is an understatement for these tiny 1-inch peppers. When new
on the vine, they are rich, waxy green, changing to orange and red as they
mature. They also sold canned, pickled, or packed in oil.
whole, red dried hot chiles.
Labeled this way on the supermarket spice shelves, many small, tapered
chiles about 1 to 2 inches long are sold dried, but there is no one varietal
name that applies to all of them.
Many short conical-shaped yellow peppers with a waxy sheen go by this name-Santa
Fe grande, caribe, banana pepper, Hungarian, Armenian way, floral gem,and
gold spike. Probably most familiar are the canned pickled wax peppers.
Their flavor ranges from medium-hot to hot.
To date these are the Hottest chiles know to man, HOT - HOT - HOT. Use
extreme caution when using. Marble-shaped chile, ranges in color from unripe
green to full ripe red.
CAUTION IN HANDLING AND STORING CHILES
using fresh or dried chile peppers, wear gloves to protect your hands because
the oils, capsaicin*, in the peppers can cause severe burns. Don't touch
your face or eyes.
If chiles do come in contact with your bare hands, wash thoroughly with
soapy water. When grinding dried chiles beware of the the chile dust in
the air which will irritate eyes and throats.
DRY YOUR OWN CHILES
Tie the stems onto a sturdy piece of twine, placing chiles close together
and making the strand as long as you wish. Hang in dry area with the air
circulating freely around the strand.
In several weeks, chiles lose their brilliant hue, changing to a deep,
glistening red; they will feel smooth and dry.
is the heat factor in chiles that is used medically to produce deep-heating
rubs for treating sports injuries and arthritic therapies.