Pepper Confusion

Hot Pepper Confusion

I never cooked with them growing up, and now I can’t seem to figure out which peppers are which. My grocery store does not help me, as you can see. If they would simply line up the correct sign over the correlative peppers, I’d maybe get closer to cooking with these marvelous creatures.

The sign above the peppers says:

Anaheim Pepper
Serrano Pepper
Tomatillos
Jalapeno Pepper
Banana Pepper
Poblano Pepper

Can someone please tell me which peppers are which, and point out the one or two I should begin my cooking experiment with. If you have a recipe recommendation I’ll take that, too. Many thanks!

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11 Responses to Hot Pepper Confusion

  1. Mark Stevens October 26, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    For the peppers in the 4 small boxes, Jalapenos are top left. Tomatillos are bottom right. Serranos are bottom left. Poblanos are top right. I don’t know what the dried red peppers are.

  2. cwrc11 October 26, 2009 at 9:29 am #

    I’m not familiar with all of the above, but the tomatillos are the light green ones on the bottom right. It is kind of hard to tell from your pic, but it looks like the Serranos are the smaller green ones on top left and the Jalapenos on top right.

    I like the Serranos and habaneros (not pictures but easily recognizable-little red bells) because they are very hot, but I’ve worked up to these.

    My suggestion would be to get to know them one at a time-the serranos are usually good for dosing, rather consistent (but hot!). Know that seeds make it hotter and wash your hands (and don’t touch your eyes in between!) immediately after cutting, rubbing with salt helps take the pepper off too….
    Good luck and enjoy!

  3. Mary Nations October 26, 2009 at 10:19 am #

    I love poblanos for soups. Roast a few first (over flame or broiled, then remove the charred skin (easy)), then chop them up and add ’em in. They are not too hot generally, but more interesting than bell peppers.
    This is a great time to make butternut squash soup. Cook chopped celery, onions, garlic, and the peppers in a bit of oil; add cubes of peeled squash, cook with chicken stock, add spices to taste. I like to blend it smooth, add cilantro and dollop of sour cream. Autumn bliss!

  4. Amy Barr October 26, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Bottom LEFT are tomatillos–they taste like citrusy pseudo tomato wanna-bees (people add them to salsa). They aren’t peppers at all.

    From what I can see in the picture, none of them are Anaheims unless the dried peppers are dried New Mexican reds (a distant branch of Anaheims that have far superior heat and flavor compared to the slovenly boring Anaheim). Fresh Anaheims are great flavor, less heat–but they must be roasted and peeled before you use them in anything. Also, none of them are banana pepers (sweet flavor, not much heat, usually pickled).

    Jalapenos are in the center top–heat is good, flavor is so-so.

    Serranos are the little thin guys bottom center–heat is their specialty. (The rule of peppers: they smaller they are the higher the heat).

    Poplanos are the upper left. I find them too ‘bell peppery’ in the green form, but allowed to go red and then dried or canned, they make for a good addition to things.

    I have many recipes internalized as a proper New Mexican — what’s yer heat tolerance like?

  5. Charlotte October 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    I use poblanos to make chiles rellenos a lot. For filling, I brown ground beef with cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. (I don’t add heat because the peppers bring some heat, but if you like spicy, throw some cayenne in for the flavor.) Then I cut a slit in the poblanos, pull out the innards, and layer meat mixture with cheese. Then I steam the whole assembly till the peppers have gone kinda al dente. (I check with a toothpick.)

    Yum!

  6. Sine Botchen October 26, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

    Easy tomatillo (verde) sauce…
    Put in blender:
    5 tomatillos (first, peel paper husk off and put in broiler until skin splits open)
    1/4 white onion
    1 jalapeno pepper
    2 cloves (sections) of garlic
    1 cup of water (more or less)
    salt
    pepper
    and mebbe a nice hefty squeeze of lime juice
    .-= Sine Botchen´s last blog ..Rainy Day Flats (or This is Gonna Suck) =-.

  7. Lisa Creech Bledsoe October 26, 2009 at 8:24 pm #

    Many thanks to all of you; this is all brand new and fascinating information for me. I can’t wait to explore!

    I do have two questions for you SB: Do you peel off the skin of the tomatillo after it splits? How long does it take, typically, to broil them like this?

    Also, I wanted to thank Amy Barr, who commented above, then posted a marvelous recipe on Facebook that I’ve printed off to try in addition to the ones above. I didn’t think she would mind if I pasted it in it’s entirety for all of you as well:

    ************************
    In my home state of New Mexico, fall means two things: hot air ballons landing in your yard and green chilis arriving by 50 lb burlap bags. Here’s a recipe that will not only fix what ails you but is easy on the budget. This is one of our favorite autumn recipes: Green Chili Stew (the good way)

    2 larged diced onions and 3-4 cloves fresh galric–saute on medium in oil ’til lightly caramelized. Add 1T+ cumin powder and red pepper flakes (best if you have NM Red-vary 1T to half cup according to heat tolerances) while onions cook.

    Add 1-2 lbs ground beef to onions with 2 cups water or chicken broth to deglaze–stir to break up beef (at the same time add 2T salt or to taste). If you used water, add some chicken bouillion at this time.

    Add 6-8 diced peeled potatoes and add additional just ’til water covers tops of potatoes. Some add a diced tomato at this point–I find they look pretty but don’t add or subtract much–you choose. If you are a dragon mouth at heart, feel free to toss in a habanero at this point, just for good luck.

    When potatoes are nearly done, add as much diced green chili as you can lay your hands on. In New Mexico, everyone knows you are fererring to NM Green (which is hot and flavorful), but anaheims work for the downtrodden who live outside of NM. A good starting point is around 8 good sized anaheims. Roast fresh chili under broiler until skin browns and blisters then turn and repeat. Put roasted chilies under a towel until they are cool enough to peel, also remove some or all of seeds and stem. If you use canned chilies you will not be happy nor will your guests. A few fortunate may find proper NM Green chilies pre-roasted, diced and sold frozen by Bueno which does just fine in a pinch.

    Dice roasted peeled chilies and add to stew. Simmer until potatoes are nice and tender, stew has thickened, crowd is starved. We serve with warm tortillas and honey (this puts out the fire created by the chili heat–yankee mouths may be happy with something else since they held back on the flavor).

    As with most stews, this is great the night you make it, even better the next day. I serve it on eggs over easy with a sprinkle of cheddar and a tortilla or two. Pinto beans round out this perfect breakfast of champions.

    • Sine Botchen October 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

      >>Peeling tomatillos: Yep. It’s labor intensive, but peeling anything that’s been roasted/broiled makes for a much better product. The skins become “papery” are not very edible.. There’s not much left of the tomatillos after broiling once the “guts” spill out all over the place, so definitely roast them in a pan. I’ve found that I can rub the skin between my thumb and forefinger and it helps separate the skin from the “flesh” which will help add a little more substance to the mixture.
      .-= Sine Botchen´s last blog ..Rainy Day Flats (or This is Gonna Suck) =-.

      • Sine Botchen October 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm #

        ps: >> how long does it take to roast them… um, as long as it takes. (unless they are charred black and unedible, or is it inedible?) the more tomatoes/tomatillos, and such, roast – the more the natural sugars come out. roast some tomatillos and you’ll be surprised as to how these hard little green things can suddenly burst with sugary sweetness.. same with garlic, tomatoes, onions and whatnot.. y’all sooo gotta get an outdoor grill.. lol.. (of course, you know your kids will be melting GI Joes and such on it, but what the hey, that comes with the territory..)

  8. Gary October 26, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    the dried ones are the anaheims, the top left are jalapenos, bottom left are serranos, top right are poblanos, bottom right are tomatillos (which are not peppers but are in the same family, Solanaceae). I don’t see any banana peppers there.

  9. Mel October 26, 2009 at 11:57 pm #

    My general solution for hot peppers is to make hot pepper jelly. I grow several different varieties(habenaro, Jalapeno, chilies, tie, bonnet, and one other I can’t remember the name of right now) of hot peppers each year in the garden. at the end of the season (which is fast approaching) I gather every hot pepper in the garden, and a few of the not so hot, clean them, core them, chop them up in the blender, and then add sugar and apple cider to make a wonderful hot pepper garden jelly. Before I can it, I have the hubby taste it to make sure it has the right amount of heat. If it is not hot enough, I had a few whole peppers (seeds and all) to the blender and then into the pot. The jelly intensifies as it cans, and some argue the longer it is on the shelf the hotter it gets. We go through it so fast we don’t have that problem. Tastes great as a condiment for most any meat, great on soft cheeses on crackers, and tastes really good as a topping on a round of warm brie. Actually thing where you want a hot/savory/sweet flavor will taste great w/ the hot pepper jelly.

    And, No, I do not sell it, but the luck few will get some as gifts. (assuming I can pry it out of my husbands hands).

    BTW- I always encourage people to handle all hot peppers w/ rubber/latex gloves. After My first flirtation w/ preserving hot peppers and having a chemical burn on my hands for three days, I am a bit paranoid about the whole thing.

    🙂 Mel

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