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CHILE PEPPER PROFILES

From the sweet bell pepper to the scorching Red Savina pepper and from the steamy bayous of Louisiana to the deserts of Africa, hot peppers cross all manners of borders, whether political, ethnic, cultural or simply personal preference. Our list is not meant to be an all-inclusive encyclopedia but rather a guide for those of you who simply like to know... We are open to suggestions, corrections and comments...just let us know!
Cayenne Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
Datil Pepper
Serrano Pepper
Habanero Pepper
Chipotle Pepper
Thai Pepper
Scotch Bonnet

Chile Pepper Notes:

Fresh or dried? Frozen, canned, or powdered? Green or red? Chiles or peppers? "Chile" and "pepper" are simply different names for the same fruit. Christopher Columbus began the 'pepper misnomer' when he discovered the plant and thought he had discovered the plant that produced black pepper. The name has persisted, though technically "chile" or a version of it is the more authentic version. Even "chile," though, has different spellings and meanings. Some spell it "chilli," some "chili," though "chile" is the most common. Generally, "chile" refers to the fruit, while "chili" refers to the stew-type dish containing meat, chiles, and beans.

Hot peppers are available however you may desire them. Green chiles are simply unripe. Ripe chiles can be a variety of colors, including red, yellow, orange, and brown. Red (ripe) chiles are generally sweet and fruity, and broader shoulders indicate milder flavor.

Frozen peppers are the best substitute for fresh chiles, though they are most likely difficult to come by. Canned chiles are generally good for slicing or dicing, in salsas or on sandwiches or burgers. They can be too mushy and flimsy to use whole. Chile powder is a general seasoning, used in many recipes and styles of cooking. It is ground from only one type of chile, and should be rich in color and slightly lumpy.

Fresh chiles should be dry, firm, and relatively heavy. Do not store them in plastic bags but, rather, wrap them in paper towels and store them in the refrigerator. It is rather difficult to dry your own chiles. The process requires very low humidity and a commercial dehydrator is usually best. Dried chiles have a deeper, distinctive, more intense flavor than fresh chiles. They generally store well for about six months, after which they begin to spoil and lose flavor.



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