Chipotle Chile Pepper Stats
Length: 1 ½ - 3"
Width: ½ - 1"
Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum
Other Names: chilpotle, chile meco, chile ahumado, tipico, chipotle moritas, chipotle meco
Scoville Range: 5,000 - 10,000
Chipotle Chile Pepper Origin and History
Chipotle peppers originated in central and southern Mexico and spread to North and South America as Mexican food became more popular in the late 20th century. Chipotles are now also grown and processed in Northern Mexico and even into the southern United States to more easily transport to the whole of America.
Chipotles were traditionally made by picking over-ripe and partially dried jalapenos off the plant and then smoking them in a closed smoking chamber on metal grills. They would be smoked for several days and were stirred every few hours.
To speed up production in recent years some growers have begun using large gas dryers or even just adding liquid smoke. Ten pounds of jalapenos will result in about 1 pound of chipotles.
Chipotle Chile Pepper Description
Chipotle peppers are a fiery and smokey chile pepper that imparts an earthy spiciness to any dish they are in. The heat is relatively mild compared to other peppers but is considered hot to the general American public.
The smoking process usually turns the peppers brown and shrivels them up. There are many varieties of jalapenos that vary in size and heat but most chipotle chiles are produced in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. These chiles are known as "morita" which is Spanish for black raspberry or "little purple one" which is an accurate description of these small, purple peppers.
Another variety of chipotles are the chile meco from central and southern Mexico. These peppers are tan and gray in color and resemble a cigar butt. The morita variety is most common in the United States as almost all of the meco variety are used in Mexico.
Chipotle Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
Chipotle peppers are used in many different forms including dried chipotle powder, whole chipotle pods, and as cans of chipotle in adobo. Storing chipotles in adobo is a preservation method where whole chipotles are stored in a vinegar based marinade.
Chipotle powder can be used in spice rubs for meats, sprinkled over vegetables, or added to soups or stews. Whole chipotle pods are best used in slow cooked dishes to give the thick flesh time to soften and break down. Chipotles in adobo sauce can be added to just about any dish and any extra can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer for later use.
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