In the Kitchen: Chili Peppers

Chili peppers are plentiful during the late summer and early fall and their range of color, shape and potency makes them fun to grow.

Cooking with chili peppers has become very popular in the past decade. They can be prepared in so many delicious ways – grilled, stuffed, fried and who can resist a good salsa?

The spiciness of a dish depends on what type of pepper that you use. There are several factors that contribute to making a chili pepper hot, such as growing conditions and the age of the plant, but the easiest way to select a pepper that is the right spiciness for you is to select a variety and then see where it ranks on the Scoville scale. Peppers get their bite from something called capsaicin and the Scoville scale measure the levels of capsaicin in a given variety of pepper. For instance, a super hot pepper such as the Habanero has a rating of 10, with 300,000 – 100,000 Scoville units while the milder Anaheim has a rating of 2 with only 1,000 – 500 units. I prefer a mild flavor, so I use Anaheim peppers for this recipe.

One thing to remember when working with hot peppers – it’s a good idea to wear gloves. And keep your hands away from your eyes and mouth.

If you get some of it on in your hands and it begins to burn, the best way to remove it is to rinse your hands with vinegar and then wash them with warm, soapy water.