Cooking with Peppers

By Patrick Wagner | June 07, 2017
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Summer Spotlight: Peppers

Chili peppers can be confusing because they may carry different names based on their market forms. A chipotle pepper is actually a red, ripe jalepeño that has been smoked and dried. A poblano pepper is fresh, but ripe and dried versions are respectively called ancho and mulato. Adding to the confusion, the same variety of pepper can have varying degrees of heat. Poblano peppers, for example, can be the curious cousin of the bell pepper or the spicy sister of the jalepeño.

When it comes to cooking with chilies, it is not about whether to use hot peppers, but when and how to use them. Putting hot peppers in your food makes all of the food hot, but putting hot peppers on your food results in bits of heat buffered by the other flavors of the dish.

Fast Facts

» Some cultures eat the cooked leaves of some types of chili peppers.

» Birds can’t taste heat, so chickens love peppers! Chilies are often referred to as “bird food.” Their bright colors attract birds to eat the fruit and spread the seeds.

» Chilies are called peppers because they have a similar bite to black pepper. Whether they are hot or not, all peppers are chilies. History shortcut: The search for spices like pepper is one reason people journeyed to find a faster way to get to spice-producing parts of the planet. Drying is the easiest way to preserve your peppers.

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