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IN SEASON: CHILLI

IN SEASON: CHILLI

Chillies are a summertime hit too, and we love all the beautiful varieties that appear in high summer. Not every chilli has the same heat, so let us take you on a wee chilli adventure to explain some of the more common varieties and how hot they are. Originally from South America, chillies and capsicum all come from the same family and need good hot weather and plenty of water to get them through the hot season. Some of the more common varieties you’ll see in store over the summer are:

Habanero

Approach with caution! Intensely hot – renowned as one of the hottest chillies in the world.

Uses: Caribbean cooking (jerks and marinades) or Latin American cooking.

Rocoto

A hot little number! The Rocoto’s black seeds and thin skin make it a chilli to be wary of. Beautiful fruity flavour once you get through the heat!

Uses: Use with caution in cooking or salsas.

Serrano

From the Mexican high country, the medium-heat (3 out of 5) chilli has good all-round appeal, being hotter than a Jalapeño. Eat them green or red.

Similar to the Jalapeño in looks, this pepper is much hotter. Usually small and green in colour. As a rule of thumb: the smaller the Serrano pepper, the hotter it will taste.

Uses: Try chopping them into soya sauce and using this as a dipping sauce for sushi or spring rolls.

Cayenne

This South American chilli is hot, spicy and found in many sauces. Holds its heat but is not too strong.

Uses: Often used as a dried and ground spice or as a whole chilli in Asian dishes.

Jalapeño

Originally from Veracruz in Mexico, the milder 2 out of 5 Jalapeno is a great pickling chilli and when smoked and dried, it becomes chipotle. Green Jalapenos are a great addition to food as they give acidity without too much burn.

Uses: Use in all your favourite Mexican dishes. Great stuffed, baked or roasted and made into a dip and a must-have in salsa.

Anaheim

Dating back to 1894, the Anaheim came to California from New Mexico and is a low-heat (1 out of 5) chilli, ideal for stuffing due its larger size. A mild chilli with a fair bite, it is known by many names including the New Mexico chilli. Larger like a capsicum, but more tapered like a chilli.

Uses: They are perfect stuffed, stir fried or simply chopped into salads.

Long green

Harsher and hotter than the ripe and sweet Long Red chillies. Heat can vary dramatically.

Uses: Good used in everyday cooking as they (and the Long Red) are the most readily available chilli.

Long red

Medium-hot chilli that lends sweet, mellow and gradual spice to dishes. Heat can vary dramatically.

Uses: Good used in everyday cooking as they (and the Long Green) are the most readily available chilli.

Poblano

A mild chilli, rating just 1 out of 5 on the heat scale, it is also named ‘ancho’ referring to its wide capsicum-like shape. Often enjoyed green, it sweetens remarkably when ripe and red.

Uses: Great stuffed, fried or roasted on the BBQ.