According to Stephanie Walker, an “extension vegetable specialist” at the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, chiles are tough crop for farmers because they’re sensitive to drought and parasites, and they have to be harvested by hand.
Here are a few of her facts on chilies:
- If you just bite into the tip of a very hot chili pepper and not into the placenta or vein, you won’t get any heat.
- Chile peppers and bell peppers are the exact same genus and species.
- The heat in chili peppers is not detected by birds.
- Chile pepper is used to feed flamingos in zoos to keep them pink.
- Chemicals from the peppers are put in paints to put on boats to keep barnacles from attaching to the sides.
An Anaheim pepper is a mild variety of chili pepper. The name “Anaheim” derives from a farmer named Emilio Ortega who brought the seeds to the Anaheim, California area in the early 1900s.
They are also called California chili or Magdalena, and dried as chile seco del norte. The chile “heat” of Anaheims typically ranges from 500 to 2,500 on the Scoville scale however, many varieties grown in New Mexico can reach 4,500 to 5,000 Scoville units.
New Mexican cultivars were developed in the state by Dr. Fabian Garcia about 100 years ago. These cultivars are “hotter” than others in order to suit the tastes of New Mexicans in their traditional foods.
The Ancho, also called poblano is a relatively mild chile pepper originating in the State of Puebla, Mexico. Dried it is called an ancho chile.
While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably a poblano can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity.
One of the most popular peppers grown in Mexico, the plant (of the species Capsicum annuum) is multi-stemmed and can reach 25 inches in height.