[Drying Chiles] [Chipotle]
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Heat as Measured in Scoville units
(high pressure liquid chromatography):
N.M. Big Jim
Habaņero (a.k.a Scotch Bonnets)
Books about Chile Peppers
by Leda Scheintaub
by Robert Berkley
From Dave DeWitt
Drying chiles is one of the best ways to preserve your harvest, but be sure to dry them when they're fully ripe for the finest flavor. For poblanos, this means when they turn bright red. Any type of chile can be dried by one of the following methods, except for jalapeños, which do best when they're smoke-dried (turning them into chipotles). Don't try drying chiles with black spots; they'll turn moldy and rot.
If you live in a dry climate, the simplest way to dry the chiles is to tie them on a string by their stems, in clusters of three, and hang them in the sun. This is called a ristra. When the pods are dry but still pliable (this could take weeks, depending on the heat and humidity), hang them indoors and out of direct sunlight to finish drying.
In areas of high humidity, the chiles might rot before the sun can dry them, so your best bet is to halve them lengthwise and use the oven (or a food dehydrator). In a gas oven, set the halved chiles directly on a baking sheet and dry them using just the heat from the pilot light. This may take a couple of days or longer. In an electric oven, the chiles will dry much faster. Set the oven to low, about 175°F, and check the chiles every few minutes to make sure they don't burn.
The chiles are fully dry when they snap, not just bend. Store them in sealed glass jars in a cupboard, or in the freezer double-wrapped in freezer bags. (Don't put bagged chiles in a cupboard because the plastic is porous and the chiles can oxidize, ruining both the color and the flavor.) With both storage methods, dried chiles last indefinitely.
To reconstitute chiles, soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes, fry them in a bit of oil until they puff up, or lightly roast them. Dried chiles can also be ground to a powder when you're ready to use them (no earlier, because the powder would lose its flavor).
Note: some cooks and cookbook authors advise to never grind your own chiles because the pungent chili powders are very painful.
More on Drying Chiles
Peppers dried in the dehydrator or oven will lose some of their color and the seeds will fall, while air-dried ones will retain both their color and their very spicy seeds. When they are completely dried, store them in an airtight container or zippered plastic bag in a cool, dry place. Dried peppers can be ground and used as spices, or you can soak them in water to rehydrate them, and use them in soups and sauces. Caution: If using a dehydrator or the oven, you mayget fumes from the peppers that can sting your eyes and the smell can also be quite pungent. So best to dry peppers in months when you can have windows open. Note also that fleshy peppers, like serrano, will require enough time to thoroughly dry them.
Drying Peppers in the Oven
- Prepare your peppers the same way as you would when using a dehydrator. Remember, if you use this method, you will remove the seeds as well. You can arrange them directly on your oven racks if desired, or use baking sheets.
- Put the peppers in the oven and heat to 100 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the oven door open a bit to provide air circulation.
- If you're using baking sheets, turn the peppers frequently to provide even drying.
- Allow the peppers to dry well, with no discernible moisture left over.
Air Drying Peppers
- To dry peppers in the air, leave them whole, and the stems attached.
- Using a long, sharp needle and strong thread or fishing line, string the peppers together. Leave enough room for the air to circulate between each pepper.
- Hang your stringed peppers in a warm, dry place, preferably in direct sunlight.
- Peppers may take a few weeks to dry completely. If you want the seeds intact, this is the method you'll need to use.
Drying Peppers in a Dehydrator
- To dry hot peppers with a dehydrator, first, slice them in half. If desired, remove the seeds, stem, and membranes from each half.
- Lay the halves, cut side down, in single layers on the dehydrator screens.
- Take your dehydrator to a well-ventilated area. The fumes from very hot peppers will make your eyes water, and since this process can take several days, you'll want to make sure that the location is closed off and well ventilated. Outdoors would be even better, if possible.
- Let the peppers sit in the dehydrator for several days at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, checking to see how they're progressing. They must be very dry before they're done, as any moisture left over will invite mold and parasites.
In English the word is spelled either "chile" or "chili", but in Spanish the correct word is "chile" which is a fundamental ingredient of Mexican Cuisine. There are over 60 varieties: some mild, some hot, others fiery. What makes a chile very hot is not the body or skin (red, yellow or green), but the seeds. This is many recipes call fort removing the seeds from the chiles.
Here are some of the most famous Mexican chiles.
Chile de Arbol
A favorite Mexican chiles because of their bold and subtle natural smoky flavor. Chiles de Arbol are a common ingredient in salsas, but are also added to soups and foods as the perfect complement. Chile de arbol have an intense heat that is slightly less than that of the cayenne peppers.
Originally from the Yucatan Peninsula, but disseminated to the world by Europeans, these chiles get their name from the Cuban city of La Habana, which is known as Havana in English. Although they are not from Cuba, the chile habanero was frequently traded there. While Mexico is the largest consumer of this spicy ingredient, particularly in hot sauces and spicy foods, it's flavor and floral aroma have become increasingly popular around the world.
Chile Poblano (ancho)
Originally from the state of Puebla, chile pobalno is one of the most popular chiles grown in Mexico. Chile poblano is multi-stemmed, and can reach 25 inches in height. The pod itself is about 3 to 6 inches long and about 2 to 3 inches wide. Chile poblano is mild, heart-shapped and have very thick walls, which make them great for stuffing. Chiles rellenos are often made with them, but also they are the main ingredient for chiles en nogada.
People say that this type of chile was originally from the north sierra (mountains) between Puebla and Hidalgo were originally was cultivated. Because you don't have to char or core this thin-skinned chile (just cut it into tiny slices and mince it) it's the fastest one to use for salsas. The flavor is bright and biting, with a delayed fuse.
Serranos are a fairly spicy pepper, hotter than a jalapeño, but not as hot as a habañero. These are very popular in Mexico. They are good in salsas, especially salsa verde, they are also good roasted or sautéed in pretty much any Mexican dish. Seeding and/or roasting these peppers, like any hot pepper, reduces their spice level significantly.
Serranos are hot and can be green or red
Harvesting and Drying Serranos
Harvest the peppers at any stage, green or red, according to your personal preference. Hot peppers like Anaheims and serranos tend to get hotter the longer they're left on the plant. Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut the stem. Don't allow peppers to wither and dry on the plant or flower and fruit production will stop.See more about drying peppers.
Source: How to Grow Hot Peppers: Anaheim and Serrano Chili from eHow.com
at http://www.ehow.com/how_4901178_grow-peppers-anaheim-serrano-chili.html accessed Aug 15, 2012
The chile gets its name due to the Mexican city of Xalapa, Veracruz that is the production center of this chiles. It is considered a very hot and fiery chile with a distinctive flavor. This chile is used in both cooked and raw salsas and prevails across many different lines of Mexican cooking.
Also known as "peron" or "ciruelo", is originally from Zitacuaro, Michoacan and the north areas of the Estado de Mexico. It's part of the group of the capsicum pubescens, characterized mainly for its rough, black seeds and fuzzy leaves. It is mostly cultivated in high and cold elevated zones. This chile is very hot and it's mostly stuffed or used in salsas.
It is called "the little raising" of chiles due to the black color and wrinkle skin. People often substitute chile ancho for pasilla. It is called pasilla when the chile is fresh, but when the chile is dried its called "chile negro". Normally people use this chile to make salsas or is included in stews.
These chiles are thick, tough skin, dark reddish, and they can be mild to moderate in heat. These chiles need more time to soak due to its thick skin, and are used in various meals no matter in which type of cuisine, region and cooking style.
Types of Chile Peppers
[Chiles] [Chipotle] [Reference] [Spices] [Ethnic] [Lee's Recipes]
1,000 - 1,500
1,000 - 1,500
The Chile Heads was an internet group in the early days of the net. - See the Chile Heads Collection
Which Chile Peppers are Which? from About.com http://phoenix.about.com/od/foodanddrink/ss/chilepepper.htm accessed November
Drying poblano chile peppers
More on Drying Peppers from ehow.com at http://www.ehow.com/how_4901178_grow-peppers-anaheim-serrano-chili.html