Using Chiles in Cooking

Chilies are a great addition to many recipes. They can be purchased fresh, jarred, or dehydrated. They come in many different colors, sizes, and in varying spice levels. When you purchase fresh chilies, try to purchase bright colors without damage to the skin. You should avoid any fresh pepper that has any portion shriveled or bruised.

Here is a run down on what the chilies will taste like:

Anaheim Chiles: These are sold in fresh and dried forms. They are easy to use in a wide variety of recipes. Their heat would be considered medium heat.

Ancho Chilies: Have a mild to medium flavor. They are the dried version of pablano chilies. They do have complex flavors and can hold up to grilling.

Cascabel Chilies: These have medium heat. These chilies are typically sold in a dried form.

Chiles de Arbol: These are long, slender, and brightly colored. They are extremely hot. They can be purchased in either dried or fresh forms.

Chipotle Chilies: These are typically purchased dry. They are smoked jalapeno peppers. You may also find them canned. Their flavor can be described as smokey and mildly spicy. They are not as spicy as jalapenos.

Dried Pequin Chiles: These are small chilies. They are extremely hot and you should use them sparingly.

Habenero Chiles: These are also considered extremely spicy. They can be purchased fresh or dried. They do loose some heat if they are dried, but they also loose some of their flavor as well.

Jalapeno chiles: Depending on how large they are, these can be extremely hot. The smaller they are the more punch they have. These peppers have a great earthy taste and compliment any dish.

Pasilla chiles: These are long slender chilies that can be purchased dry. They range from medium, to extremely hot. They have a very deep flavor that compliments many dishes.

Pablano chiles: These are mild to medium hot. Roasting them over an open fire is very popular. This removes some of the heat and brings out some of the sweetness of the pepper.

Serrano chiles: These are typically used in southwest cooking. They are considered hot but earthy. They tend to have a more robust flavor than the jalapeno pepper.

Thai chiles: These are flooded with intense heat. They are sometimes called bird chiles in some regions. They are great for spicing up Thai style dishes.

With this knowledge, it should be easier to choose the perfect pepper to add to your dish. I had some help from a few websites trying to figure out the normal heat level. I have enjoyed hot peppers for so long, that the heat leaves something to be desired. Spice is a major part of my life and anyone else that loves heat in their food. The taste is something I have learned on my own through years of enjoying the earthy addition of peppers.

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