Chile Peppers Around the World: Useful Peppers

| June/July 1994

There are chiles to suit almost any palate. The following are some of the most popular and useful of peppers, some of them mild, some scorching.

• Aji. Called cusqueño in Peru, this pepper is very hot to fiery. The fruit is bright green-yellow ripening to golden yellow. The 4- to 6-inch peppers grow on plants that are 4 to 6 feet tall. The peppers dry well; they are used as a condiment and in salsas and sauces.

• Anaheim/New Mexico. Referred to as chile colorado when red and chile verde when green, this large pepper, 6 to 7 inches long, ranges in pungency from mild to very hot. The 2- to 3-foot bushes have big, glossy leaves; the bright green fruit turns red at maturity. The red peppers are dried for ristras; green ones are roasted and peeled or frozen and used in soups, stews, and rellenos.

• Banana/Hungarian. Mild to hot, this pepper is best eaten when green or pale yellow-green, though it matures to bright orange-red or scarlet. It is used fresh in salsas and sauces and is good for pickling, but it doesn’t dry well. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet high, and the fleshy fruits are 4 to 6 inches long.

• Cascabel. This small, fairly hot pepper, which measures 3/4 inch by 11/2 inches, has a slightly nutty flavor when dried. It dries well and is good in soups, stews, sauces, and sausage. The dark green fruits mature to a dark reddish brown on plants 11/2 to 2 feet high.

• Cayenne. This thin-fleshed pepper is hot to fiery and is handsome when dried. The medium bright green fruits mature to bright red, and they are good fresh or dried and ground for use in soups, stews, and sauces. The peppers are 3 to 6 inches long and grow on plants that reach 11/2 to 2 feet high.

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