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FAQs : Cooking With Chiles

If a person enjoys eating chiles frequently, do they develop a tolerance and obtain a craving for heat?

Yes, actually capsaicin, the heat producing substance uniquely found in chiles is definitely habit forming and the more chiles one eats, the more one desires and the hotter. And, hotter chiles are best as they contain more capsaicin which has many many curative properties and is very, very good for one.

Where does the "heat" reside in the chile pepper? Many claim it is ALL in the seeds. I have also heard that the capsaicinoids are stored in the membranes of the chile.

Capsaicin is produced in the placenta, right under the stem of a chile. Once produced, it flows through the veins and is stored in the seeds. The hottest part of a chile is the top one inch as that is where the capsaicin is produced. There is no agreement on whether the veins or seeds are hotter.

We have harvested a large amount of green chile from our small garden this year and would like to save them for the winter. Is it possible to FREEZE them?

The best way to preserve green chiles is to parch or roast them above or under direct heat such as under a broiler or on top of a grill. First wash them and pierce a small hole near the top of the chile. Turn to uniformly blister and blacken on the top of the blistering. Chill in ice water. Drain and freeze firm on cookie sheets. When firm, place in date and labeled packages. They will keep for one year.

What is a Chipotle?

A chipotle is a smoked red ripe jalapeno. They can be smoked two ways, the traditional method which yields a brown leathery skin created by slow smoking in banana leaf lined trenches or the mechanized method known as a morita which are smoked in electric or gas fired ovens and sprayed with smoke essence. The traditional are much more smokey and full flavored. In addition to being sold whole and dried, they are available powdered which is the easiest form to use. Allow ½ teaspoon powder per pod of chile required in a recipe.

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