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Chile Peppers

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Hot Terms

Pepper PowerAji: The name given to chile peppers by South American indians.

Anaheim: A type of chile pepper that is 5" to 6" in length, is green or red in color, and has a mild to medium-hot flavor. It's often stuffed or added to salsas.

Ancho: A dried form of the Poblano chile often used in Mexican cuisine. Ancho has a mild paprika flavor, with sweet to moderate heat.

Barbecue: A method for grilling food over a wood or charcoal fire. Usually a sauce, marinade or rub is applied while the item is grilled.

Capsaicin: A colorless, odorless chemical concentrated in the veins of chile peppers. It is the active component of hot peppers and gives them their "heat."

Capsicum: The genus name for chile peppers. Capsicum pepper refers primarily to Capsicum annuum L. and Capsicum frutescens L., plants used in the manufacture of selected hot sauces known for their pungency and color.

Cayenne: A hot, intense red pepper about 2" to 3" in length, which is often used in a ground form as a spice. Cayenne peppers are named after Cayenne in French Guiana where the chile originated.

Chile Pepper: A rich source of vitamins A and C as well as folic acid, potassium and Vitamin E, chile peppers are the fruit of the plant Capsicum.

Chipotle: A dried, smoked Jalapeno. Chipotle peppers are characterized by their sweet, smoky flavor. Roughly 1/5 of Mexico's jalapeno crop is made into Chipotles.

Habanero: The "hottest" pepper of the Capsicum genus. Usually yellow or orange in color, lantern shaped and about 2" long. The word "habanero" means "from Havana."

Hot Sauce: A spicy condiment used for flavoring various recipes. It is usually made with chile peppers.

Jalapeno: A thick-fleshed chile pepper about 3" long with medium heat. Jalapeno peppers are harvested when they are green or red if allowed to ripen for a longer period of time.

Jamaican Jerk: Developed in Jamaica by the Arawak Indians, jerk is an ancient island method of spicing and grilling meats.

Mole: A fiery Mexican sauce made of chiles and unsweetened chocolate.

Pequin: A small (1/4" to 1/2" long) and very hot chile pepper. Also known as a "bird pepper." Its heat is slow to burn but lasts on the taste buds for a long time.

Poblano: A mild-to-medium hot pepper that is dark green, shiny and 3" to 5" long. The Poblano pepper is commonly used for making Chiles Rellenos.

Pungency: A strong odor or taste property. Commonly used to describe the heat of chile peppers.

Raita: An Indian condiment based on yogurt. It is often served as an accompaniment to spicy dishes to counterbalance their heat.

Red Savina: The hottest chile pepper on earth. The Red Savina is a type of Habanero pepper with a Scoville unit rating of over 570,000.

Rellenos: A culinary dish of stuffed fresh New Mexican or Poblano peppers.

Ristra: Chile peppers that have been tied on a string and hang vertically. Used for storage and decoration.

Salsa: The Spanish term for "sauce," salsa can be cooked or raw and comes in an infinite number of flavors and variations. It is a condiment on a variety of foods and often used as a dip for chips.

Scotch Bonnet: One of the hottest chile peppers, the Scotch Bonnet (1" to 1-1/2" long) is closely related to the Habanero pepper and ranges in color from yellow to red.

Scoville Heat Unit: Invented by Wilbur Scoville to measure the "heat" of chile peppers. It is based on the amount of sugar-water necessary to entirely cancel the heat of a chile.

Serrano: Often used in salsas, Serrano peppers (1" to 2" long) are dark green to red in color and have a medium heat. "Serrano" is a Spanish adjective for "from the mountains." Serrano peppers originated in the mountainous regions of Puebla and Hidalgo, Mexico.

Tabasco: Both a Mexican state as well as a trademarked hot sauce from Louisiana that consists of red chile peppers, salt and vinegar.

Wasabi: A condiment used with sushi, wasabi is a green paste made from a Japanese horseradish root, also known as "Wasabia japonica."
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