Have you ever learned a fact that makes you really rethink everything in life? Well, this was it for me. There I was, minding my own business on Twitter when an infographic popped up. Intrigued, I stopped scrolling to take a closer look at it. According to the picture, jalapeño peppers and chipotle peppers are the same pepper. The same for poblano peppers and ancho peppers, and anaheim and colorado. Hesitant to believe, I turned to Google to do some more research. And it turns out, dried chipotles and jalapeños are in fact, the same pepper.
Jalapeño vs. Chipotle Peppers
When it comes to Mexican cuisine, fresh chili peppers and dried chilies are used for a base of many popular dishes including favorites like chicken mole, chiles en nogada, and enchiladas. You wouldn't make jalapeño poppers with dried chipotle, or a chipotle sauce with jalapeños, so what is the difference between the two and how are they similar?
Known as a medium-size chili, a green jalapeño is a hot pepper that is considered milder than serrano peppers. It's the state pepper of Texas and can be found regularly in Tex-Mex cuisine. Eaten either raw, pickled, jellied, or cooked, the pepper adds a bite to your food without making you sweat.
Characterized by their smoky flavor, chipotle chilies are usually served in adobo sauce, dried whole, or as chipotle powder. Most of the time the chipotle chile is used in salsas, chilis, and stews. Whole chipotle peppers can be added to soups and stews.
How To Make Chipotle Peppers
Have your own jalapeño plant? Then you are in luck. At the end of the season allow some of the peppers to fully ripen on the plant. The chile peppers will slowly turn red, which is the color you want. Some farmers markets will also sell red jalapeno peppers at the end of the season.
Once you have picked the red jalapeño peppers, set up your smoker and begin the smoking process. Fruitwood works best, with pecan being traditional. Smoke the peppers until they are completely dried, then either bag them as is or crush them into a powder.
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