Field Guide to Fresh Peppers
Chile peppers have been cultivated all over the world for centuries, resulting in a wide variety of species with different shapes, colors, flavors, and, of course, heat levels. Here are some varieties you may find in the produce section at Haggen. When choosing your fresh peppers, they should be firm, glossy and smooth, except for the jalapeño which may have cracks near the stem. All other varieties should be blemish-free.
Sweet. Green peppers are harvested before fully ripened and when fully ripened you have a red bell pepper. These varieties have been bred to ripen into a rainbow of colors (orange and yellow).They are crunchy, juicy peppers that are great for eating raw on salads, sautéing, or roasting.
Sweet. Mini peppers are colorful, crisp peppers that are one third of the size of a regular bell pepper. These playful peppers make delicious sweet-tasting appetizers.
Mild. Known as the California or long green chile this chile is sweet and crisp. Usually Anaheims are roasted and peeled before being added to salsas and sauces. They’re also great for chiles rellenos and delicious in stir fries.
Mild-medium hot. No other chile is prized more than this variety grown in Hatch, New Mexico. The intense day time heat and cool nights result in a uniquely flavored chile with a nice blend of mild heat. Stuffed or roasted, this chile will give any dish a punch. But don’t stop there; try them in soups, salads or sandwiches, too.
Medium hot. The popularity of Tex-Mex foods owes its reverence to the jalapeño. An all-purpose chile that adds heat ranging from mild to potent to salsas and guacamoles, jalapeños can be added raw. The dried, smoked red (ripe) jalapeños are called chipotles.
Mild to medium hot. The thick flesh of a poblano is ideal for chiles rellenos. Poblanos have a nice amount of heat with earthy, savory flavors. When dried, a poblano becomes an ancho, from this form, it is often ground into a powder used as flavoring in various dishes.
Very hot. This pepper can be a bit hotter than a jalapeño. Serranos are green (unripe) or red (ripe). The flavor has a sharpness that cuts the richness of guacamole. A red serrano has a sweeter heat—great in curries and chili.
Very, very hot. This is one of the most popular peppers in the Caribbean and one of the world’s hottest chiles. It’s used in jerk marinades and hot sauces.