Chiles 101

Chile: Anything consisting of the Capsicum plant or the fruit from the plant.

Types of Chiles:

The oil found in peppers that makes them so spicy. Most of the capsaicin is found in the membranes and seeds of the chile pepper.

A dried, plum-shaped, dark blood-red colored chile that ranges in size from about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

A bright red, extremely hot, pungent chile that ranges from 2 to 5 inches long and about 1/2 inch in diameter.

This hot chile is actually a dried, smoked jalapeno. It has a wrinkled, dark brown skin and a smoky, sweet, almost chocolatey flavor.

Short and cone-shaped, the Fresno is as hot as the more well-known jalapeno chile. It ranges in color from light green to bright red when fully mature.

Used as a seasoning and garnish for a plethora of savory dishes, paprika is a powder made by grinding aromatic sweet red pepper pods.

The rich-flavored, medium-hot pasilla is a blackish-brown color. It's generally 6 to 8 inches long and 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

These thin, 2- to 3-inch-long chiles have a bright red, wrinkled skin. They have a slightly sweet flavor that can range from medium to medium-hot.

The traditional decorative string of dried New Mexican chiles, used to preserve and store the chiles.

Sambal is a hot Indonesian spice paste, most often made of crushed chilies, lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a shrimp paste called blacang.

Scotch Bonnet 
This small (1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter), irregularly shaped chile ranges in color from yellow to orange to red. The Scotch bonnet is one of the hottest of the chiles.

Scoville Scale 
Measure of a chile's heat devised by scientist Wilbur Scoville in 1912. The scale is based on how many parts per million of sugared-water is necessary to dilute a chile's heat.

Originally a pepper variety found in Mexico, Tabasco peppers are now grown in Louisiana. The McIlhenny family made Tabasco chiles famous in the 1880s as the main ingredient in the still popular fiery condiment sauce.

Thai Chile

Only about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter, this diminutive chile packs a fiery punch that doesn't dissipate with cooking.

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