Types of Peppers

January 28, 2011 § 4 Comments

 

 

Produce at 17th Street Market. Upper right- Habanero pepper, Upper left- Serrano pepper Lower right- Red-Fresno pepper Lower left- Tomatillo Photo by: McKenzie Sheldon

Peppers are a quintessential ingredient in salsa. You can use them fresh, roasted, whole, smashed, diced, as a powder, or dried. But don’t don’t let the variety scare you- learning which pepper to use and how much is easy when you understand all the different characteristics of each pepper.

Key:

  • Spice Level: 1-5 (5 being the hottest!)
  • Taste: What the pepper tastes like in raw form.
  • Uses: What dish the pepper should be used for
  • Variety: Different serving style the pepper is used in. (ex. powder form, ect.)

The most common peppers:

Jalapenos at 17th Street Market. Photo by: McKenzie Sheldon

Jalapeños: A green, medium sized pepper originating in Mexico.

  • Spice Level: Ranges from 1-3 (1, when the seeds and the capsicum, or membrane is taken out, and 3, when used whole.)
  • Taste: Flesh has a mild fruity burning sensation, like a green bell pepper with a kick, and eaten whole (seeds and all) it has a warm mouth burning sensation.
  • Uses: Jalapeños can be used in most all salsas, including guacamole and tomato based. Use to elevate the the salsa’s fresh flavor and to give the salsa and extra kick.
  • Variety: Chipotles- smoked and ripe jalapeños, they can be found dried or canned in adobo.  Jelly- jalapeños in a jellied form.  Power- Jalapeños dried and ground.

Green, Yellow, and Red Bell Peppers at 17th Street Market Photo by: McKenzie Sheldon

Bell Peppers: A large pepper produced in Mexico comes in four different colors- Green, Red, Yellow, and Orange. The colors are determined by it’s stage in ripening.

  • Spice Level: Sweet, but can have a slight kick (like the jalapeño) if the capsicum, or membrane, is left inside.
  • Taste: The taste differs with each color. Green is most bitter because it is at the peppers youngest stage, Yellow is slightly sweeter, Orange and Red are the sweetest.
  • Uses: diced for fresh salsas, which adds sweetness or roasted and diced to add a smoky flavor.
  • Variety: Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, rarely white or rainbow (when the pepper is between stages).

Next time check out more uncommon pepper varieties!

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