The Anaheim Pepper

The mild New Mexico chili pepper is known as Anaheim pepper. Emilio Ortega, a farmer who introduced the seeds to the Anaheim, California, region in the early 1900s, is the source of the name “Anaheim.” They are also known as California chile, Magdalena, and chile seco del norte when dried. Anaheim peppers are sometimes referred to as New Mexico peppers because they are native to New Mexico. Because they are so common, they are also frequently referred to as “chile” in New Mexico. New Mexico-grown pepper varieties are typically hotter than California-grown varieties.

The mild, medium-sized Anaheim pepper can reach lengths of 6 to 10 inches. When green, it is frequently used in cooking and recipes, though it can also be used when red. While other strains ripen to full red, the basic variety turns a dark greenish-reddish color. They are one of the most widely used chili peppers in the country and are used in a variety of dishes. Ristras can be made by stringing together dried red varieties. It takes 75 to 80 days to reach maturity.

How Hot Are Anaheim Peppers?

The Anaheim typically registers between 500 and 2,500 Scoville heat units on the Scoville scale, which is considered to be mildly hot. In contrast, an anaheim pepper can be up to 15 times milder than a jalapeño in terms of heat. It typically has the same level of heat as poblano peppers (1,000 to 1,500 SHU), but at its lowest point, it can be as mild as banana peppers (0 to 500 SHU).

The Anaheim is a bit of a guess as far as how hot it will be given that Scoville range. One pepper may only have a soft simmering heat, while another may have a strong medium heat. Depending on where they were grown, Anaheim peppers can have a wide range of heat. Compared to those grown in New Mexico, Anaheim from California, for instance, is typically much milder. So if you can’t handle the Komodo Dragon Pepper, might as well try Anaheim Pepper.  The New Mexico varieties can actually spike in heat and get as hot as a jalapeño, if not occasionally even hotter. Overall, though, this level of spice is tolerable for most people. If you can handle the heat of jalapenos, you can handle the heat of Anaheim chilies.

What Does Anaheim Pepper Look Like?

Anaheim chilies can grow up to five inches long and have a curved body, so they are definitely noticeable. Like most chilies, they mature on the vine from green to red, and like the jalapeño, they are eaten in the kitchen in both their young green and mature red states.

What Do Anaheim Peppers Taste Like?

Anaheims have a mild sweetness and a peppery flavor. As these chilies turn from green to red, a faint fruitiness becomes more apparent. They tend to become sweeter the longer they are on the vine and develop their mature red color along the way, just like jalapeño (and many other chilies).

Cooking with Anaheim Pepper

One of the best features of this chili is how versatile it is. Even for those who typically don’t like spicy food, it is very adaptable and family-friendly. It only has a slight pop and a pleasant fruity sweetness. How adaptable? Almost anything that calls for bell pepper can be substituted with Anaheim peppers. This is a great strategy to use if you want to give your dish a little extra punch. Simply cut them into pieces and use them like bells, either raw or cooked.

A special treat is stuffed Anaheim peppers. In that respect, they are similar to poblanos, and in the widely consumed dish chili rellenos, Anaheim peppers are frequently substituted for poblanos. But the two peppers have very different shapes. Poblanos resemble bell peppers more than Anaheim chilies, which are longer and thinner. The cavity for stuffing is not quite the same as what you would get from bell or poblanos because they have a decidedly hotter pepper-like appearance. You can add Anaheim pepper to spice up your healthy food suggestions for super bowl. These chilies make great additions to salsa. Anaheim peppers are the best choice if you want to make a mild fresh salsa.

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Cooking Anaheim Pepper Tips 

1. Although Anaheim chilies are mild, you shouldn’t disregard their heat. Once more, their range can be surprising: one fruit is extremely mild, while another is as spicy as a jalapeño. It’s best to taste a tiny bit of the Anaheim before using it to get a sense of how spicy it is overall.

2. A mild chili can still cause chili burn. Anaheim chilies, which are considered mild chilies, still contain capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their spiciness, but not in the same quantities. However, touching your eyes while handling chopped Anaheim without gloves will give you a burning sensation. When slicing even the mildest of chilies, wear gloves.

3. Think about using the color Anaheim. While young red Anaheims will taste more sweet and even a little fruity, mature red Anaheims will taste more sweet and peppery. When cooking, take advantage of those flavors. The fun of chili peppers includes this. For instance, a red Anaheim chili might be ideal for a fruit salsa that is sweeter, while a green chili might be ideal for a traditional tomato-based salsa.

Anaheim Pepper Substitute

The poblano chili will be your best overall replacement because it has a similar level of heat (1,000 to 1,500 Scoville heat units), but its flavor is earthier and less sweet than Anaheims. Of course, you could choose to omit the spice altogether and just use a sweet bell in its place.

Growing Anaheim Peppers

These chilies can be grown in containers or even in your backyard garden. These chilies are larger than many other options and require space to grow, so if you choose containers, take that into consideration and choose a slightly larger pot (2 to 3 gallons).

Preserving Your Anaheim Peppers

If you have an abundance of Anaheim peppers in your garden or at the grocery store, you can easily preserve them by canning, freezing, drying, or making sauces from them.