What pepper is this?
September 25, 2009 7:12 PM   Subscribe

PepperIdentityFilter: I serious don't know my peppers. I was trying to pick up serranos, but picked up what looks like the pepper on the left in this image. What is this? A banana pepper? Extra points if someone knows whether if i boil this'll spice up or ruin the chili I plan on making. I plan on boiling this pepper in the sauce prior to adding the meat to it.
posted by miasma to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like a peperoncini.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:17 PM on September 25, 2009

You can always take the pepper out once the broth is however spicy you want it to be. Just keep tasting as you cook.
posted by foodgeek at 7:17 PM on September 25, 2009

It's a wax pepper (around here they call them Santa Fe Grande). They have a lot of variation in heat, from wimpy to medium-hot... which means it will go fine in your chili, though it might not come out hot. You might want to snip a bit off and taste it to see if you got a really mild one. If so, cut it open lengthwise before you put it in the sauce, and you'll get more mileage out of it.

on preview: I don't think it's a pepperoncini. Those are sort of wrinkly, whereas this one is not. Plus, this one looks to be truly yellow, whereas pepperoncinis are that way because they've been pickled (fresh ones are green or red).
posted by vorfeed at 7:30 PM on September 25, 2009

Looks to me like a guero, described here. They're medium hot, milder than a jalapeño, and have a somewhat fruity taste that you don't get with jalapeños. Like foodgeek says, just fish it out of the chili when it's hot enough for you.
posted by Quietgal at 7:31 PM on September 25, 2009

Oh, and it's not surprising to find several different names for the same chile. According to Diana Kennedy, author of several Mexican cookbooks, chiles go by different names in different regions of Mexico and it occasionally confuses even Mexican cooks when they're away from home.
posted by Quietgal at 7:34 PM on September 25, 2009

Ack, one last comment and then I'll shut up. Since you say you don't know your chiles, a serrano is a fair bit hotter than a jalapeño. I recommend sticking with jalapeños until you learn more about which chiles you like: they're easy to find, easy to identify, not overly hot, and easy to cut open and remove the seeds from (which will reduce the hotness somewhat). Or slice them crosswise into thick wheels, and it's easy to avoid biting into them if they're too hot for you. Serrano slices are a little too small to spot easily, plus I find that serranos don't add much flavor, just biting heat.

Gueros are very nice and you were lucky to find some, since they're not all that common. I wouldn't worry too much about "overheating" your chili, especially if you were mentally and physically prepared to deal with a serrano. I just wanted to warn you that serranos can be a bit too hot for some people, and as a very rough rule of thumb, the smaller the pepper the hotter it is.
posted by Quietgal at 8:05 PM on September 25, 2009

Where I am from, we call those banana peppers or wax peppers and what the others say is true. They vary in hotness on a scale of sweet and mellow to burn your eyes out hot.

I made the mistake once of touching my face after stuffing one of these full of a sour cream and shredded cheddar mixture for roasting. The oil I inadvertently rubbed on my cheek to catch an itch burned so much that no amount of cool water would soothe it.

Depending on the intensity of the particular pepper you got, throw it in the chili and taste as you go. Citric acid (lime or lemon juice) will cut the heat if it gets too spicy. The peppers also mellow the more you cook them.
posted by at the crossroads at 8:23 PM on September 25, 2009

The oil I inadvertently rubbed on my cheek to catch an itch burned so much that no amount of cool water would soothe it.

Don't use water! Water just spreads the oil around. Next time, soak a paper towel in milk and hold it against the spot. Milk is the best at neutralizing chile heat.

The same goes for if you eat too much chile: milk, beer, or bread will help, but water won't.
posted by vorfeed at 9:41 AM on September 26, 2009

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