Many types of New Mexico chile
Although we sell green chile by temperature, Mild, Medium, Hot, Extra Hot, etc, the differences between them run deeper than that.
Chile has been a big thing in New Mexico for a long time, and as a result, many different varieties exist. Many are bred for their size and meatiness, such as Big Jim. Some are bred to bring the heat, like Lumbre. Some chile is bred to mass produce, like Arizona 88. We don’t sell that one, as it is an inferior product, but most grocery stores do.
Every chile serves a purpose. For our hot chile, we generally get Miss Junie. Our ristras are made with Sandia, a chile variety developed by Roy Harper in 1956. Both are a solid “hot” temperature, but the Miss Junie is more meaty, which means it will roast better. Sandia is less so, which leads to better drying.
The original New Mexico chile pepper was Numex No. 9, developed and released by Fabian Garcia a little over 100 years ago. He also distributed and farmed this chile in Anaheim, California, which led to Anaheim chile becoming well known.
Differences in the same varieties
Red chile and green chile is another factor which is important. Green chiles have many differences with red. Red fruits are more mature, with a lot more sugar. They take longer to roast, and the peel is more resilient. They also dry much better, and hold their shape well, where green typically shrivels and doesn’t look great.
There are many different things that consumers look for in chile. Sometimes they need chile that is long and straight, so they can make chile rellenos. Big Jim, a cultivar developed by Roy Nakayama in the 1970s is typically the best for this. The mild 1904 and 6-4 varieties also work, as well as the hot Miss Junie.
Sometimes, people want as hot as possible. Traditionally, Barker was the choice for spice-lords, but Lumbre has overtaken its throne in recent years.
Everyone has something different they look for in New Mexico chile, and that is why we let people see and try the chile before they buy. It is important for us to make sure you have the best possible chile experience.
Other types of chile
Superhot chile is a new trend in chile cultivation. twenty five years ago, the hottest peppers you might find would be things like habanero and scotch bonnets. Although the red savina pepper was the hottest in the world, few people really knew much about it at the time. The first superhot pepper to really kick off the modern spice craze was the bhut jolokia, or ghost pepper as it is most commonly known. Dr Paul Bosland of NMSU’s Chile Pepper Institute said this pepper “kind of opened the floodgates.”
Since then, other peppers emerged, with a new one taking the crown every year or two. Trinidad moruga scorpions were the top dog until they got overturned by the Carolina Reaper. The amount of superhot chile varieties available now is immense, with tons of growers and researchers trying to make their own mark. One popular chile variety is the 7 pot, which has many different strains. You might have heard about a California reaper, which is a yellow version of the red Carolina reaper.
New hottest peppers
Although unconfirmed by Guinness, there are some new peppers that are rumored to be even spicier than the Carolina Reaper. If you ever hear of Dragons Breath or Pepper X, be prepared, as they are supposedly much hotter than even the Carolina Reaper. These new chile peppers are pure fire.
Along with a boom in superhots came a boom in the sweet pepper department as well. For decades, you could find a few colors of bell peppers at any old grocery store. These mild peppers give a good flavor and juiciness to any dish they are in, along with tons of health benefits. There are a lot of different sweet peppers available, such as the Corno di Toro. The Hamik pepper is one of the sweetest peppers you can find, with sweetness that makes it comparable to many fruits.
Famous peppers around the world
Many countries have their own chile traditions and cultures, just like us in New Mexico. In Japan, their most famous chile is the shishito pepper, which goes really great flame roasted and paired with beer. It is a very common bar food in Japan. In southeast Asia, the Thai pepper reigns supreme, but stroll down any market, and you will see tons of different types of chile that you can never find in the US. India and Sri Lanka are famous for spicy food, which explains why the ghost pepper and naga chile varieties came from there. Trinidad is also quite famous for both the Trinidad Scorpion and the 7 pot varieties of chile. Cayenne pepper is another super famous pepper, and arguably the most used for spice powder which adds heat. Paprika is of course more common, but mild.
The world is a big place, and although I do consider myself a chile expert, my field is primarily related to chile in New Mexico. Because of that, I can’t list off every single pepper, but I can say that the amount of different pepper cultivars is simply astonishing. You will find different chile everywhere you go, as long as the cuisine is one that appreciates spice.