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Crops & Varieties: Peppers (Hot)

You’ll likely receive some jalapenos with what look like cracks in the top - this is called corking and is natural to jalapenos. Generally, corking indicates spiciness, and more “cracks” generally means that the pepper is spicier than others.

Always be very careful with handling and cutting hot peppers! Gloves are a good idea, and it’s really important to not rub your eyes after handling cut hot peppers. The capsaicin responsible for the heat in the pepper is oil soluble, so water won't fix it, but soap might.

Varieties

 Anaheim       Anaheim peppers are a delicious, not-particularly-spicy chile great for a wide range of uses. Since they're not too hot, use them like sweet peppers with a bit of a bite.
 Cheyenne       These are a hybrid cayenne pepper that grows long, curly, and wrinkly.  And did we mention....hot!
 Habanero       Extremely spicy, but also extremely fruity and delicious. We use them in our salsa to provide both heat and sweetness.
 Jalapeno       Ubiquitous throughout many styles of cuisine, these peppers vary widely in spiciness -- check for cracks along the shoulders to see how hot it will be! You'll see these in green and, when fully ripe, red.
 Poblano       Again, these peppers can range from sweet and light to very hot... and taste amazing as chili powder.  They're easily mistaken for a green bell pepper, but are a deeper green and not as blocky in shape.
 Serrano       These small, fleshy peppers look like small jalapenos, but they're a good bit spicier. Very tasty raw.


Quick tips

The most intense heat in a hot pepper is found in the seed and membranes. One easy way to judge the heat of the pepper is to taste a small bite from the tip (since there are no seeds or membranes there, you get an indication of the spice level and flavor, but be careful!). It's also generally true that smaller and thinner means hotter (as long as you're comparing the same variety of pepper with another of the same kind). 

Try dehydrating peppers to make your own chili powder. Put whole peppers in a slightly-warmed oven (175 to 200 degrees); turn the oven off and let the peppers stay in the oven for 2-3 days, turning the oven on and back off every once in a while. They’re done when you can crack them open and they are essentially hollow and not at all soft. At this point, place them in a grinder or blender and grind them to a fine powder. Mix with just a little salt and place in an empty spice container. Instructions and pictures are linked at our Tumblr post below.

The easiest way to preserve chilies is to keep them in a basket in a sunny spot and rotate them every now and again. You can also string them up, which is lovely. Thinner chilies can be left out for months, drying in this effortless, natural way. This is harder to do with thick-skinned poblanos or jalapenos.

Make a quick hot chili paste by removing the tops of the peppers and placing about 4 peppers with a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a food processor. Remove seeds and white membrane to reduce the spiciness, as this paste can be extremely hot if you don’t.

Minced fresh hot peppers are great in tacos/burritos, salads or slaws - go easy on the amounts, and it can just be a splash of heat in any dish.

Storage
Like sweet peppers, don’t store peppers in plastic bags - paper or produce bags are best.

Though it’s okay to store them in a paper bag in the fridge, it’s best to keep them at a cooler room temperature covered with a towel. They tend to lose flavor more quickly in the refrigerator, but it’s a good backup plan if, for example, you don’t have air conditioning.

You can also freeze chilies (either whole or chopped) by putting them flat on a baking sheet in the freezer, then, once they're frozen solid, pack them up in a plastic bag and pull out as needed.

Hot peppers are also great for dehydrating - see the link below. It’s easier than you think!

Recipes

Food.com: Spicy salsa

Root SimpleHarissa Sauce
 
Our Tumblr: Dehydrating peppers (mentioned above)

The Kitchn: Dried Hot Peppers (A generally useful resource for reading up on how to use hot peppers.)


Preparation types and times

Braising: 10-20 mins
Grilling: 10-20 mins (less if strips)
Roasting: 10-20 mins at 350-400 °
Sauteing: 3-5 mins
Stir Frying: 3-4 mins


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Contact Us Online or Call 608-335-1198

Tomato Mountain Farm ~ N7720 Sandy Hook Rd, Brooklyn WI 53521 ~ info@tomatomountain.com ~ 608-335-1198

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