Heighten your senses. Get a rush. Spike your endorphin levels this month with some natural heat. Chili Peppers are in peak season at local farms so there’s no better time to try spicing things up! Fresh salsa, relishes, sauces, salads, grilled, roasted and stuffed – go for it!
Top Image, Left to Right: HOT to Mild – Orange Habanero, Serrano, Jalapeno, Long Hot, Poblano, Banana Pepper (or wait.. is that one a Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper!)
Chili Pepper Guide
Here’s a rundown for some of what you may find at the farm market or in your favorite produce department, ranked from most mild to most hot:
- Cubanelle: aka Frying Peppers, crooked-cone shaped, lime green, thin-walled and mild – great for stuffing, frying, grilling and roasting
- Banana: sweet, yellow-green – make sure they’re sweet banana instead of hot yellow wax
- Poblano: sometimes called Pasilla, dark green, wide-flat cone shape, just a little spicy, great for Tex-Mex, roasting, grilling and stuffing like in my favorite Poblano recipe: Chile Rellenos!
- Anaheim and Hatch: green, red when mature, mild to medium heat, ideal in Southwest cooking and salsa, awesome for roasting. New Mexico Hatch Chili Peppers are similar – the quintessential roasting chili.
- Long Hots: long, slender, crooked, dark green, medium heat but hot when you get to the seeds they pack some slow, sweat inducing burn. When allowed to ripen on the plant longer Long Hots turn red and become sweeter, but still have full hotness.
- Hungarian Wax: sometimes called Yellow Wax Peppers, long lime-yellow color, crisp, brightly spicy, ideal for pickling in sliced rings to top salads and sandwiches. Can be roasted or stuffed too, Eastern-European-style. Don’t confuse them with mild Cubanelle or sweet Banana Peppers that look similar.
- Jalapeno: small, dark green, immediately spicy; perfect for salsa, pico de gallo and kicking anything up a notch; smoke them and Jalapenos become… Chipotle. “Easy Jalapeno Poppers” recipe via InspiredTaste.net.
- Serrano: like Jalapenos except lighter green, thinner and 2-3x Hotter
- Scotch Bonnet and Habanero: Holy Cow! you better know what you are doing with these green, red or orange little gnarled-cone shaped mega-hot peppers – Watch out!