There are so many in your megamart. I blame Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, and the Food Network for allowing dangerous items in the hands of unsuspecting American cooks. The wrong pepper at the wrong time can make a dinner, shall we say, hard to swallow. I’m going to list the common peppers used and the common uses. The first rule is the smaller the hotter and the brighter the hotter. Capsaicin is the heat measure, so I listed per common pepper.
Shishito peppers- This is a Russian roulette of peppers, most are sweet and fruity, but one in 10 is hot. Excellent in a green chili sauce for burritos, chimichangas, and general Mexican cooking.
Anaheim – Lighter, pale green, mildly hot. Perfect in cooking stews, sauces, pickled in a sandwich. 100-2500 capsaicin level.
Poblano – Dark green, a little hotter, still some fruitiness. I use them in stuffed green peppers, chili relleno, charred and used in chili. 1000-1500 capsaicin level.
Jalapeño- Spicy! They carry a 2,500 to 8,000 heat level. They are used in jalapeño poppers, tacos, and mole’ ; they pack quite a punch. This is the most used pepper in salsa.
Red jalapeño- hotter than a regular jalapeño. This pepper was responsible for my wife getting pepper sweats. Still flavorful and fruit notes on the back end. Heat level 3,000 to 9,000.
Fresno chilis – These are a hybrid of a jalapeño, similar in heat but more smokey in flavor. These are excellent pickled, and great grilled. Similar in heat to the jalapeño.
Habanero – This is one of the spiciest peppers on the planet. It is used in sauces, (check out the habanero cranberry recipe on the blog), jellies, and salsas. Its heat level is up to 90,000 to 150,000 units. The red version is at the top of the heat scale.
I’m not picturing the scorpion, ghost, or reaper which are the three hottest. I can’t eat them, and they are not found fresh at most mega marts.