Tips and Hints Surrounding the Chile

It’s that time of the research process where I list all of the best information I can find in regard to purchasing the good, better and best chiles when in your local market.

  • Chiles, although available nearly year round, are best in the late summer.
  • The best chiles are the firm ones with the shiny skins.
  • The better chiles will smell more “fresh and peppery” than those of lesser quality.
  • If choosing between two chiles of equal length and width, choose the heavier one. It will have more flesh.
  • If you wish to retain the heat of your chiles, avoid washing them before using them.
  • A general rule of thumb: The smaller the chile, the hotter it will be.
  • Use rubber gloves in preparing your chiles, as the oil can last on surfaces for several hours afterwards.
  • Stems should always be removed. The seeds and inner fibers are up to you.
  • A fair amount of the capsaicin is located in the inner fibers and seeds. If you leave them in, your dish will be hotter.
  • The seeds are not the hottest part of peppers. It is at the point where the seed is attached to the white membrane inside the pepper that the highest concentration of capsaicin is found.
  • Do not touch your eyes after you’ve cut chile peppers! Wash your hands first!
  • Wash your hands with hot, soapy water after done preparing the chiles, to remove any residual oils. Vinegar is also recommended.
  • Store your chiles in a paper bag in your refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Some Flavors that go with chile peppers: Chocolate, Cilantro, Coconut milk, fish sauce, ginger, lemons, lime, new world beans, peanuts, baked winter squash seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce tomitillas, tomatoes
  • The best way to reduce the heat from a chile you’ve recently bitten into? Eat either a banana, yogurt, milk, and soft/mild cheeses. Alcohol and carbonation will make the heat worse. Water does little against the heat.

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