Fresh and powdered

"Pepper" from the Sanskrit "pippali," (berry or peppercorn); chili or chile from the Aztec "chilli."

Chile peppers are smaller and more pointed than the sweet pepper. The Scoville scale rates the different varieties according to their "heat units."

Native to Mexico, chile peppers come in a wide array. Round or elongated, yellow, red, green, brown or garnet coloured, almost all chiles belong to the Capsicum annuum family. The world of chile peppers can be bewildering, since their names differ from one region to another, and according to whether they are fresh or dried. Hot peppers are usually used as a condiment while the mild ones are considered a vegetable.

Nutritional values per 100 g
Calories: 40; Water: 89%; Carbohydrates: 9.4 g; Protein: 2 g; Fat: 0.2 g. Rich in fibre and vitamins A and C.

Buying chiles
The skins should be smooth, shiny and unblemished, with a nice green stem. Choose them according to the strength desired:

  • Fiery - carribi, guero, De Arbol, habanero, pequin
  • Very hot - Jalapeño, serrano, mirasol
  • Medium - Poblano, chilaca, vallero

Keep in a cool dark place. Will easily keep for more than a week unwrapped in the refrigerator crisper. Wrapping them in plastic bags will make them rot. To keep them longer marinate them or place them in oil.

Cooking tips
All of the chile's heat is concentrated in the seeds and ribs. To lessen their strength just remove all or some of these parts. When simmered, chiles add flavour; when subjected to dry cooking or roasting, they show their full strength.

Jalapeño (fresh) / Chipotle (dried ) - Scoville rating: 5 Poblano (fresh) / Ancho (dried) - Scoville rating : 3 Chilaca (fresh) / Pasilla (dried) - Scoville rating: 3



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