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Getting to Know Your Chiles


I’m prepping to do a cooking demonstration at the farmers market this coming weekend. The topic is peppers. The kids love peppers, as long as they’re the right ones, as in the not-too-hot ones. The question then becomes how do you know which is hot and which is not? Are up to date on your Scoville Heat Index for peppers?

A walk around the farmers market revealed I had a lot to learn still. Cherry peppers and hot peppers can look a lot alike. Knowing the different flavor profiles and heat levels of different chiles can not only save you from severe mouth burn, but it will also help you when seasoning your favorite dishes with fresh or dried peppers as well. If you’re like me, you’re planning to can some salsa in the next few weeks.

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  • Chile de Arbol 1 of 4
    Chile de Arbol
    These chiles are often sold dried. Keep them in airtight glass containers in the freezer and add them to salsas. Scoville Rating: 15,000 ~ 30,000
  • Costeno Rojo 2 of 4
    Costeno Rojo
    Similar to chipotle peppers, these pack an equal amount of heat. Usually found in salsa, soup and sometimes mole. Scoville Rating: 7000 - 12000
  • Habanero 3 of 4
    Habanero
    These orange beauties are hot, but not hot enough to completely rule out their sweet flavor. Best used sparingly, try grating these with a microplane for a tiny bit of flavor. Scoville Rating: 150,000-325,000
  • Poblano 4 of 4
    Poblano
    One of my favorite cooking peppers, poblanos have a tough skin that can be removed prior to cooking with. They bring plenty of flavor punch and just a small amount of spice. Scoville Rating: 1,000—2,500

Read more about chiles on The Daily Meal.

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