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CHILES AND HOT PEPPERS PAGE
 
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Chiles and Hot Peppers

Fabulous Mexican ChiliesA system for rating the heat of chiles was developed by a fellow named Wilbur Scoville in 1912 and it has been enhanced by technology in recent years. The source of the heat is a chemical called capsaicin which in concentrated form is used in defensive pepper sprays. In its natural form it is found most concentrated in the inner white spines and seeds of chiles. Despite this more scientific approach to chiles, I will stand by my own sense of mild, warm, hot and very hot.

What I find more interesting than the simple heat of chiles is their very distinctive flavors. Each of them imparts a unique taste which enhances the flavors of other foods. All chiles are great sources of vitamins A and C and good sources of folic acid, potassium and vitamin E.

As you can imagine for two people who have lived for years in Mexico, chiles are one of our dear favorite foods. They add color and a kick to many wonderful dishes. Not all of them are hot and many have interesting layers of flavor. The manzano chile is a good example. With its peppery heat comes a nuance of melon.

Benefits:
       
Most chiles contain vitamin B6 which is great for the skin, vitamin C which builds your immunity, and vitamin A, but their capsaicin may be even more beneficial. Many folks believe eating chiles can boost your metabolism helping you to lose or maintain your weight more easily. The fact that they taste great is a special bonus!

        Capsaicin which gives peppers their heat, is said to be similar to a common ingredient in decongestants. Adding a sprinkle of cayenne or another hot pepper to a hot cup of tea may help in beginning to drain clogged nasal passages helping you to breathe more easily and maybe even work on getting rid of that nasty sinus headache. This has worked reasonably well for my husband so give it a try if you suffer as he does.

        Peppers may also be good for your heart and for your circulation as they may lower unwanted LDL cholesterol while augmenting beneficial HDL cholesterol.

        Recently I read that hot peppers may reduce the risk of ulcers, killing the very bacteria that is now known to cause this dreadful stomach disorder. Apparently, the hot peppers kill the ulcer causing bacteria! I have always had a weak stomach, it being the place I'd always first feel stressful situations. When I moved to Mexico, not only did I leave the stressful situations behind for the most part, I also began eating hot peppers on a daily basis and I never had a stomach problem while doing so even under relatively stressful situations.

Link: http://www.g6csy.net/chile/var-b.html

Warnings:
       
There is some difference between hot green peppers and hot red peppers that I don't well understand. But I do know that I can eat lots of hot green peppers with no problem while just one sprinkle of hot red peppers on a pizza will bring on all the painful symptoms of a bladder infection. I avoid them like the plague!

          Another cautionary note can be added regarding unfamiliar hot peppers you may encounter while traveling. By all means give them a try, but do so in the manner in which you have seen them prepared. Are they eaten raw, raw with the skins burned off, cooked and skinned? I don't think you will find yourself in dire straits if you break a few rules, but we have had some pretty serious digestive upsets eating some of the Mexican hot peppers not prepared traditionally. In any case I would recommend asking how new peppers are prepared before just jumping in with your own ideas of what to do with them.

Text & Photograph ©KO 2006 and ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013

 
Cayenne Peppers
Benefits: This is one of the hot peppers and not everyone will find it appealing. If you do, you may reap the benefits of clearer breathing, lower cholesterol and an increase in your metablolism.
 
Guyana Wiri Wiri Pepper, Guyana Pepper, Hot Cherry Pepper, Bird Cherry Pepper Capsicum Frutescens
As you can see in the photograph below these peppers resemble cherry tomatoes and they do carry a little of the tomato taste along with a fruitiness in a tiny pepper that packs a wallop. They are as hot as habaneros and scotch bonnets. They are said to be a staple of Guyanese cuisine.
Benefits:
Wiri wiri peppers probably carry many of the benefits of hot pepper, but I have not yet found any specific reference to wiri wiri peppers.
From: Guyana
Photographed: At the Latour Farm in Tobago in January, 2018.
Planting and Care: The wiri wiri grows at most to be under 5 feet. It will do well in full sun or in semi shade as long as it receives good rainfall or watering. This is a sub-tropical plant that is tolerant of infrequent occurences of cold weather down to about 30 F.
Text and Photograph ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2018
 

Chile de Agua Capsicum annuum
This chile is very popular in Oaxaca for use in a salsa and as an alternative to chile poblanos for a more picante version of chile relleno or stuffed chiles. It is normally available primarily in the fall as it is not as easy to grow as other chiles.
Photographed: At the Benito Juárez market in Oaxaca, Mexico. To see photographs of the market click here.
Planting and Growth: These chiles like it hot and relatively dry though they are more short lived than other chiles.
Recipe: Toast two chiles on a metal comal or over the direct flame of your stove until the skin blisters. Place the hot chiles in a bag and let them steam for a few minutes, then peal off the skin and remove the white pith, veins and seeds. Toast two large plum tomatoes in the same manner and remove the skin and seeds. Peel and mince one clove of garlic. Place everything in a blender and pulse a few times to mix the ingredients.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2009

 

Chile Ancho Capsicum annuum
This is the dried version of chile poblano (see chile poblano below). The chile ancho is reddish in color, mild in heat and has a fruity sharp flavor.
Text Copyrighted ©KO 2008

 
Chile Arbol Japones
These are skinny red dried chiles used in making salsa roja or red salsa. They are hot, as is the salsa.
Text Copyrighted ©KO 2006
 

Chiles Caballos
These little chiles (about 3" top to bottom) look much like those that I loved in Mexico, the twice larger chiles manzanos, but they are different, lacking the fruity taste that made manzanos so exquisite.
Benefits:
From:
Guatemala is where we found them.
Photographed: In our kitchen in Panajachel at Lake Atitilan in Guatemala.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013

 

Chile Cascabel Capsicum annuum
This dried chile is used in making a terrific salsa. Its name, cascabel, means little rattle in Spanish. They are small, almost round and from about 1 to 2" in length. The color is almost the same as an eggplant, a dark brownish black.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico. To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2006
 

**Chile Chilaca Capsicum
This is a long relatively thin deep green fresh chile with moderate heat. When dried it is called a chile pasilla. The chilaca is intriguing because it has overtones of a regular green bell pepper with a unique warm spicy heat. In Mexico, it is used most frequently in salads sliced fresh with tomatoes, onions and a bit of garlic. We love it sliced and fried with onions and served with fried steak.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico. To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Text & Photo Copyrighted ©KO 2006
 

**Chile Chiltepe
These are tiny chiles that grow well here at a mile high and in a climate that is relatively moist because of Lake Atitlan. They are known locally to be very hot. When local folks come to visit they always take a meandering walk through the garden to see if any of these chiles are ready to pick.
Benefits:
From:
Guatemala is where we found them in our garden.
Photographed: In our garden at our home in Panajachel, Solala, Guatemala.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013

Top Of Page

Chile Chipotle Capsicum
This is a dried smoked jalapeno and it smells divine. The jalapeno does not lose its piquancy when smoked.
Photographed: In the Benito Juárez Market in Oaxaca, Mexico.

RECIPE -- SALSA CHIPOTLE

Put 1/4 kilo (about ½ pound) of chipotles in a pot and cover them with water. Simmer gently until the chiles soften, but not long enough for them to break apart. In a separate pan, soften a cone of piloncillo in a small amount of water, add ½ cup of vinegar and ½ of a small stick of cinnamon. If you don’t have access to piloncillo, use about 1/2 cup of molasses. Cook these together till it smells wonderful. Drain the chipotles and add to the other mixture. Stir gently over low heat to blend the flavors. Serve with meats as a side dish.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010

 
Chile Guajillo Ancho Capsicum
Wider in shape and less piquant than its cousin guajillo pulla.
Text Copyrighted ©KO 2006
 

**Chile Guajillo Pulla Capsicum
This is a narrow long hot chile normally dried when it has turned red. These chiles grow plentifully on plants reaching to about two feet in height. The chiles have a wonderful mild flavor when first appearing, but heat up as the season gets longer.
Photographed: Growing in our mahogany garden at our former home in Montserrat.
Planting and Care: We had good luck with this chile in Montserrat.The plant is prolific and hardier than some other chiles we’ve planted.

RECIPE -- TOMATO JUICE COCKTAIL

Chop some guajillo pullas finely and add a tablespoon or so to a tall glass. Squeeze 1/2 key lime into the glass, add tomato juice and vodka to taste leaving room for the ice. Stir the mixture, add a stick of celery with nice green leaves and finally some ice. Delicious!
Text & Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010

 
**Chile Habanero, Chile Macho Capsicum chinense
These are small 2" green, yellow or red fresh chiles. A bit misshapen, the habanero is also extremely hot.
Photographed: We bought chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico (on the right). To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here. On the left is a fresh green habanero growing in our mahogany garden at our former home in Montserrat.
Planting and Care: The habanero plant is not distinctive from other chile plants, growing at its best to over three feet tall, but bearing even when smaller in about 85 days. Surprisingly we found worms in some of our first habaneros and couldn’t imagine how anything could live in one of these chiles! After the initial worm problem, we had good luck with this chile in Montserrat giving it the same care as all of our other chiles and sweet peppers -- sun and routine rainfall or watering. Before planting, we prepared the soil well adding compost and lime and then waiting a week before transplanting the habanero seedlings I had grown with seeds brought from Mexico.
Text & Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010 and GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013

Chile Habanero HOT HOT

**Chile Jalapeño Capsicum annuum
These are a great standby, whether fresh or pickled, and are used almost every day in Mexican cuisine. Their heat can vary greatly according to where and how they are grown, but the heat is clear and sharp and their flavor is wonderful. When pickled with onions and carrots, we use them chopped or sliced on nachos most commonly or on cold pureed black beans as a dip served with totopos which are homemade fried tortilla chips (much better than anything that comes in a bag).
Photographed: In our mahogany garden at our former home in Montserrat.
Planting and Care: The jalapeno is a pendant chile growing on a plant that will be about three feet tall. In warm climates, plant seeds in trays and transplant to the garden for best results. Give them full sun and a reasonable amount of water and fertilizer and you won't be disappointed. In the Caribbean, they don't seem affected much by insects, though we have had problems with some sort of wilt. The chiles will mature in only about 70 days and the plant will produce for months.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010 and GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013
 

**Chile Manzano (Mexico) Capsicum pubescens
This is a medium sized brilliant yellow, green or red fresh chile. They are not large, being only about 3 to 4" top to bottom and they are shaped much like a bell pepper. Inside are large black seeds which should be discarded. When freshly cut, take a sniff. They have a melon overtone, but are quite hot.
This is one of my all time very favorites -- just imagine tasting a melon with heat -- wonderful!
From: These chiles originated in Peru.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico. To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people there click here.
Planting and Care: I was told that in tropical climates the plant is best grown in the shade where it may eventually grow to be ten feet tall, bearing its first chiles after about 120 days and living to be about 10 years old. I was never able to get seeds I brought from Mexico to sprout in the Caribbean, but I was later told that this is a high altitude chile and that may have been the reason.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010 and GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013

RECIPE #1: CHILE MANZANO SALAD

Slice the chiles manzanos, removing the pith and seeds, and mix them with about 1/3 as many very thinly sliced mild white or Bermuda onions by volume. Add a bit of salt and squeeze fresh key lime juice over them to taste.

RECIPE #2: CHILES CAPONES

Core the manzanos leaving the pepper in tact. Cook them in water with key lime juice, salt, onion, and a bit of bicarbonate of soda (to reduce the heat if you wish). When softened and cool enough to touch, stuff the chiles with cooked freshly ground beef made from an organically raised cut of sirloin. Salt as desired and then give them a topping of dry white cheddar cheese. Bake at 375° F. for about 1/2 hour or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve with a puree of black beans, small (not grape) round cherry tomatoes, and fresh tortillas or the best tortilla chips you can find if you can't make them yourself.

 

**Chile Mira el Cielo, Chile Parado Capsicum frutescens
This is the hot chile used in making Tabasco. When growing, the peppers stand up on the plant, hence the apodo or Mexican nickname “chile parado.” Parado technically means stopped, but the nickname amusingly refers to an aroused male. Mira el Cielo means looking toward the sky so that too is a very appropriate, though less amusing, name.The plant itself is very attractive, a deeper green than most peppers.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico (on the left). To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here. On the right and below are fresh green chiles mira el cielo growing in our mahogany garden at our former home in Montserrat.
Planting and Care: The leaves on these bushy deep green plants are puckered and distinctive from those on other pepper plants. We had good luck with this chile in Montserrat
 

RECIPE: HUEVOS DIVORCIADOS

Dried or fresh these chiles are used in making a salsa picante or hot sauce. The salsa is used in making huevos divorciados or divorced eggs. In this dish, two fried eggs are served, one with salsa picante and one with a mild tomato salsa. You'll find this on breakfast menus all over Mexico.
Text & Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010

 

Chile Morita Capsicum
Shaped like a dried jalapeno, or chipotle, the morita is about 3 to 4" long. It is almost always used dried, most often in making salsa.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico. To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010
 

Chile Mulato Capsicum
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico. To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Text & Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010

Chile Mulato

Chile Mulato
 

chille Pasilla

Chile Pasilla Capsicum
Not very hot, the flavorful pasilla is often used in making a salsa to accompany roasted goat. This is the dried version of the chile chilaca pictured above.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico. To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Text & Photos Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010
chile Pasilla
 

**Chile Piquin Capsicum
These are tiny very hot peppers, reaching only to a size of about ½ inch. The fresh ones are real killers, but dried they become almost edible.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico. To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Planting and Care: The plants are bushy and about three feet tall bearing chiles in about 120 days, but most prolifically in the second year. We had good luck growing this chile in Montserrat. I'm not sure why I didn't take a photograph of the plant.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010
 

Chile Poblano Capsicum annuum
This is a fresh green chile as large as a green pepper, but narrower and elongated. In Mexico it is considered mildly hot or medio picante, though we find it quite mild. This is the most popular chile for making the famous dish called chile relleno though we've heard in Oaxaca that a more spicy version of the dish is made with chile de agua pictured above. When dried the poblano is called chile ancho which are a major ingredient in making puerco adobado.
Photographed: We bought these chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Planting and Care: We did plant these peppers in Montserrat, but they didn't thrive as did many other chile varieties.
The plant is about three feet tall, bushy and ever bearing at its best.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010
 
**Chile Serano Capsicum annuum
The serano is a relatively small chile, narrow and only 2 to 4" in length. It is a standard item in any Mexican kitchen, used to add a spike to many dishes while not affecting the flavor much. While it is often rated as hotter than the jalapeno, I would have to say the heat is the same – hot, but not fiery.
Photographed: Below in the middle and on the right
in our kitchen and in the mahogany garden at our former home in Montserrat. On the lower left we bought the chiles in the market and took them home to photograph them at our apartment in Taxco, Mexico To see some of the foods available in Taxco's market and some of our favorite people click here.
Planting and Care: The serano grows on a plant that is about three feet tall. Plant seeds in trays and transplant to the garden for best results. Give them full sun and a reasonable amount of water and fertilizer and you won't be disappointed. They don't seem affected much by insects, though we have had problems with some sort of wilt. Mature chiles can be harvested in about 80 days.
Text & Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2006/2010 and GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013

Chile Arbol
Chile Arbol
 
**Pepperoncini
These are the peppers that you find in those specialty food isles in the supermarket. They are packed in glass jars prepared either in Italy or Greece. I made them at our former home in Montserrat and my Greek husband went wild. No additives, no preservatives and the freshest taste ever!
Benefits:
From:

Photographed: I can't right now find the photograph of these lovelies growing in our Montserrat garden, but we now have them growing in the back yard here in Guatemala. I'll take a photograph in a day or so.
Planting and Care: These are vegetable peppers so full sun and routine watering or rainfall are required. Fertilizer or good compost will be equally appreciated.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013 and 2014
 
Scotch Bonnet Peppers, Bonney peppers, Caribbean Red Peppers Capsicum chinense 'Scotch Bonnet'
Scotch bonnets are among the hottest known peppers. They are used extensively in Caribbean and southern Latin American cuisine as well as being popular in Guyana. They are said to have a slightly sweet taste along with the heat.
Benefits:
Capsicum peppers are known to have all sorts of health benefits, but I couldn't find anything specific to the Scotch bonnet variety.
From:
I saw one reference saying this plant variety originated in Jamaica, but I can't be certain of that.
Photographed:
At the Johnston Apartments in Crown Point, Tobago, in 2018.
Planting and Care: These pepper plants produce prolific quantities of peppers growing in full sun with routine rainfall or watering.
Text and Photographs ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2018
 
Trinidad Pimento Peppers, Trinidad Seasoning Peppers Capsicum chinense
This is perhaps the most popular pepper in Trinidad and Tobago. It is said to pack all the flavor of a hot pepper without the heat. They are sometimes used interchangeably with green bell peppers.
Benefits:
Capsicum peppers are known to have all sorts of health benefits, but I couldn't find anything specific to the Trinidad Pimento variety.
From: I did not find this information.
Photographed:
At the Johnston Apartments in Crown Point, Tobago, in 2018.
Planting and Care: When mature these plants will be about 4 feet high and will be covered in peppers as you see in the photograph. We have seen them growing in gardens, in pots by the door, and just about anywhere else you look. Treat them like green peppers with a fertile rich soil and regular rainfall or watering and they will do just fine. They also seem immune to the Caribbean's very hot direct sun so I wouldn't bother with giving them any shade.
Text and Photograph ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2018
 

If you know what this chile is, please Contact Me
Hot Pepper Mystery #1
Photographed:
In the Carlos Thays Botanical Garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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