Chili Pepper Time
September 23, 2010 4:39 AM   Subscribe

It's Chili time in NM! This NYTimes story on hot peppers is full of good stuff(if Capsicum and heat are your thing). Some experts argue that we like chilies because they are good for us. They can help lower blood pressure, may have some , antimicrobial effects, and they increase salivation, which is good if you eat a boring diet based on one bland staple crop like corn or rice. The pain of chilies can even kill other pain, a concept supported by recent research. There is evidence that by 6,000 years ago domesticated Capsicums (hot peppers) were being used from the Bahamas to the Andes.

You may have missed this news from July: A new collection of some of North America's hottest foods—an eclectic range of New World chili peppers—were delivered to the cool Arctic Circle environs of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault this week, where their exotic tongue-scorching qualities can be kept safe for centuries.
posted by Blake (38 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Chilies can also be used to make Hahndorf, South Australia's famous Bavarian Bum Burner.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:08 AM on September 23, 2010


Chipotle sauce is an outstanding tuna adjunct.
posted by Tube at 5:09 AM on September 23, 2010


The goodness of chiles can be seen by their rapid spread. It seems that, within about 70 years of Europeans encountering the things, they were grown in pretty much every part of the world where cultivation is possible. The world, evidently, was waiting for the dawn of the Age of Chiles.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:13 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Eating chilies in Mexico is patriotic!
posted by vacapinta at 5:13 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It also makes you happy!
posted by londonmark at 5:16 AM on September 23, 2010


It's chile. Chile.

I am just grumpy because it's September and for the seventh year I am far away from chile roasters.
posted by sugarfish at 5:23 AM on September 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's chile. Chile.

It is if you mean the country. That's not the name of the firery little fruits we know and love.
posted by londonmark at 5:25 AM on September 23, 2010


I think in general the spelling is interchangeable, but in the context of the New Mexico variety, I have always seen it spelled chile, which I have always thought was sort of funny.
posted by padraigin at 5:28 AM on September 23, 2010




I think in general the spelling is interchangeable...

Ah, so it is.
posted by londonmark at 5:33 AM on September 23, 2010


My first fall in NM, as a college freshman, my roommate bought a ristra and hung it over his bed. One night he came home and found it had fallen onto his pillow. My drunken buddy just tossed it out the way and went to sleep... he awoke, a few hours later, with his orifices swelling shut and terrible pain all over his face. I still tease him about being a chili-zombie/monster/fool.
posted by MNDZ at 5:33 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


"For the past couple of decades, writers who must use these terms quite often, such as ourselves, have reached an informal agreement on style. To avoid confusing the plant and pod with the bowl o' red, we use chile, the original Spanish-Mexican spelling, to refer to the plant and the pod. The word chili means the dish of meat and peppers."
posted by Kinbote at 5:42 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


New York chile-lovers: feel free to drop by the CHILE PEPPER FIESTA at noon on October 2! Brooklyn Botanic Gardens! Delicious spicyness! I'll be in a chocolate-and-chili cookoff, even! It will be good times!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


"For the past couple of decades, writers who must use these terms quite often, such as ourselves, have reached an informal agreement on style. To avoid confusing the plant and pod with the bowl o' red, we use chile, the original Spanish-Mexican spelling, to refer to the plant and the pod. The word chili means the dish of meat and peppers."

So you put a chile in your chili? I'll never get that right, but thanks for clearing it up!
posted by londonmark at 5:51 AM on September 23, 2010


One of the most depressing events of the last two or three years is that I've developed what appears to be a chile allergy.
posted by blucevalo at 5:57 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who doesn't like these things?
posted by schmod at 6:29 AM on September 23, 2010


agreeing with others that, especially if you're talking about the NM variety, its "chilé". "Chili" is that stuff with meat and beans that comes out of Texas.

"Green chili" is Texas chili that's been left sitting out too long. :)
posted by luvcraft at 6:38 AM on September 23, 2010


For the past few years, we've been ordering a 25 lb. box of hot green chiles from these folks here. We preorder in early summer, and then sit and wait and wonder when they will arrive. This year, they got here in early August, if memory serves.

It's a great service. They picked the chiles on Monday during the day, boxed them, sent them out FedEx, and by early afternoon on Tuesday they were in our house in eastern WA.

I then spent 6 hours on Wednesday, starting early in the day, roasting them all on our propane grill and bagging them in recipe quantities (3-4 chiles per bag) and getting them ready to drop into the deep freeze. I also held out about 3 dozen of them fresh to make into rellenos. Using one of those peculiar "green bags" to keep them fresh in the fridge, we just had the last batch of rellenos about a week go.

Now I have a huge amount of green chile, roasted for easy peeling, frozen and ready to go whenever I need it.

Seriously, bookmark that website, and place your order in late May, early June 2011. You'll be EVER so glad you have them around. I know that living outside of southern NM has gotten a LOT easier on this green chile lovin' soul since we discovered this service.

(You might even be able to order some for delivery this year, although it's VERY late in the season.)
posted by hippybear at 6:54 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, blucevalo, you poor thing! You have my deepest sympathy.

For a couple of years, my Mom would send me a ristra from home each fall and I'd hang it on my front door. I loved them. Then, the neighborhood finches started calling. The little bastards would perch on the ristra and tear it to bits. Apparently they thought I had put it there for them. After the third ristra was demolished and eaten by the birds, my Mom stopped sending them.

Yes, I know I could have hung it in the house away from the birds. I already keep one in my kitchen. Besides, they're supposed to be hung outside.
posted by onhazier at 6:56 AM on September 23, 2010


Besides, they're supposed to be hung outside.

Yup, although the birds had the right idea. You're supposed to be using that ristra as your source of dried red chile pods to use to make delicious red sauce for your enchiladas. They may look decorative, but they're actually the chile equivalent of hanging a braid of garlic or whatever, and are meant to be eaten.
posted by hippybear at 7:13 AM on September 23, 2010


it has been Chile time at my apartment for a month. I started 9 habaneros from some pods an anonymous coworker left at work last fall. I planted all of them in some 5 gallon bucket planters, and now I have enough peppers to last me for several years. I have 2 one gallon baggies in my freezer right now, and about another one sitting on the counter waiting for me to have enough time to dry them in the oven, and probably another one still on the plants (assuming we don't get an early frost here). This is the quantity I have after I've made Jelly, hot sauce, salsa, and Jerk marinade.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:22 AM on September 23, 2010


hippybear, when I visited NM a few years ago, in mid-October, I had a hard time finding non-decorative ristras for sale; all the ones in the gift shops were lacquered and fancy and inedible and expensive. I persisted, though, and found a road-side chile roaster, buying a big-ass bag of peppers that ended up as my sole carry-on item. I strung them up at home and, indeed, ate every damned one, using the broken pieces for home-made chile powder. It was just luck that I was there at the right time--we were there for the Cumbres and Toltec last run of the season. 6 inches of snow in Colorado!

Also, carne adovada. So. Good.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:31 AM on September 23, 2010


After living in NM for a few years, I now associate the smell of roasting green chiles with the arrival of Fall. I love this time of year.
posted by joedan at 8:25 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You'd think the NYTimes could have found a photo of New Mexico chile to go with the article that starts out talking about New Mexico chile.

I chickened out of ordering chiles from here: $138/20 pounds, delivered. It'd be delicious but so much work to process, I don't have hippybear's work ethic. In the past I've settled for buying Bueno foods red chile powder, a pretty good mass produced brand. But now I'm jonesing for green chile stew. I stopped in to Tia Sophia's in Santa Fe for breakfast about a month ago and had a bowl of green for breakfast. So good.
posted by Nelson at 8:29 AM on September 23, 2010


Nelson: the link I tossed earlier is cheaper -- just under $100 for 25 lbs delivered.
posted by hippybear at 8:43 AM on September 23, 2010


And if you look in the "mexican spice" section at your local grocery store, you can often find bags of whole dried red chiles to use to make delicious delicious red chile sauce.

The longer I live outside of NM, the more obsessed I get about chile and learning to cook mexican food.
posted by hippybear at 8:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


They may look decorative, but they're actually the chile equivalent of hanging a braid of garlic or whatever, and are meant to be eaten.

Unfortunately, unlike braids of garlic, they attract vampires, so do this with care.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:05 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, chile! Living in southern AZ, chile means a reason to escape to New Mexico for a weekend trip. We'll be going to Hatch soon to get our supplies, which will be a bag of green chiles and a nice big bag o' reds. Drivin through Hatch, where the roasters are turning everywhere and the scent of roasted chile fills the town, is something we look forward to every year. Then we have to hope we don't run out of chile before the next crop is ready. This year we bought a chest freezer specifically so that we can get a second bag of green.

We have the place we buy them from do the roasting for us. Then we head back to Tucson, with the chiles sweating in the back of the car for 3-4 hours. When we get home, they're still hot to the touch, and those skins slide right off. Perrrrfect.
posted by azpenguin at 9:12 AM on September 23, 2010


For my money, the best green chile in the state comes from Sichler Farms. I can get Hatch chile anywhere, but it's well worth the 2 1/2 hour drive from here for Sichler chile from their stand in San Antonio, every single year. They also have stupendous dried red chile.

hippybear, when I visited NM a few years ago, in mid-October, I had a hard time finding non-decorative ristras for sale; all the ones in the gift shops were lacquered and fancy and inedible and expensive. I persisted, though, and found a road-side chile roaster, buying a big-ass bag of peppers that ended up as my sole carry-on item.

Yeah, the ones in the tourist shops aren't real ristras. You want to stop by the sort of roadside stand that has local veggies and chile for sale, with a bunch of ristras hung up around the edge of the canopy. Those ristras won't be lacquered (this time of year, many haven't even finished drying!), and won't cost you much at all.
posted by vorfeed at 11:45 AM on September 23, 2010


For the past couple of decades, writers who must use these terms quite often, such as ourselves, have reached an informal agreement on style. To avoid confusing the plant and pod with the bowl o' red, we use chile, the original Spanish-Mexican spelling, to refer to the plant and the pod. The word chili means the dish of meat and peppers.

I'm not sure who "ourselves" is but the title of the linked NYTimes article is "A Perk of Our Evolution: Pleasure in Pain of Chilies"
posted by vacapinta at 12:28 PM on September 23, 2010


I'm not sure who "ourselves" is but the title of the linked NYTimes article is "A Perk of Our Evolution: Pleasure in Pain of Chilies"

Again, this is a local standard. The New York Times style guide may spell the word "Chilies", but that doesn't change the fact that you'll probably be corrected if you refer to the plant, its fruit, or green chile/red chile sauce that way in New Mexico. "Chili" here means Texas chili, full stop, end of story. Thus, "it's Chili time in NM!" is just plain wrong, unless by that you mean some nonexistent time in which we all forget where the hell we are and decide to behave as if we are in Houston.

Also: fuck the Cowboys.
posted by vorfeed at 12:54 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Which is not to say that New Mexicans don't eat Texas chili -- I made a huge pot of it just this week. But I made my chili with chile, not with "chili". The latter conjures a vision of dumping a can of Hormel into the pot, and that's not the way it goes.
posted by vorfeed at 1:29 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


we were there for the Cumbres and Toltec last run of the season

One of the engineers for that train sells burritos where I work. His name is Jeff ...

Chile/chiles, of course. The only kind is Hatch farms. Anaheim green chile is not worth eating, but it's all I could find when I was living in California, aside from shipping it.

Speaking of NM food, I took some Sadie's and Los Cuates salsa to a party in California this past weekend, along with some blue corn chips. Nobody in CA makes it hot enough.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:24 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


A couple years back, some company brought out a habanero flavored snack in Japan, and since then, it's become more and more common to see chile powders in the supermarkets. This year and last year, at home centers, I've been able to find (and grow) jalapenos, habaneros, and Thai chiles. Next year, I hope to be able to get a better yield, as this summer was brutal on my garden, but it's definitely fun to use chiles you've grow and picked yourself.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:59 PM on September 23, 2010


When I was living in Bosnia, getting chile hot enough was pretty close to impossible. The one Mexican restaraunt in Sarajevo adds some heat with horse-radish and that is just wrong. The taste has to be a specific kind of hot. You do have to have lived in New Mexico to knw what I mean.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 7:04 AM on September 24, 2010


The one Mexican restaraunt in Sarajevo adds some heat with horse-radish and that is just wrong.

Repeated for truth.
posted by hippybear at 9:35 AM on September 24, 2010


And yet Sarajevo is barely 200 miles from prime paprikas growing territory in Hungary. Sure a lot of paprika is mild, but they grow erős peppers too with lots of heat. Why is this flavour not available anywhere else in Europe?
posted by Nelson at 10:16 AM on September 24, 2010


Why is this flavour not available anywhere else in Europe?

When I was living in Hannover, West Germany, our class took a field trip to West Berlin for a week or so. During my time there, I visited Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), which was a GIANT store featuring basically any and all consumer goods they could possibly stock from every corner of the world. Kind of a giant middle finger pointed up toward East Germany and their bare store shelves.

In the grocery section, I was thrilled to find a selection of mexican food items. Okay, they were really only Old El Paso brand, but hey, anything for a good taco at that point. I bought packets of taco seasoning, some taco shells, and even some masa to take back and share with my host family.

After making tacos for everyone one night, we all sat down to eat them, and my host family was nearly unable to eat what I had prepared. Like, full body flushing, sweat POURING down their faces, copious amounts of beer and water being consumed. It was like someone had just fed them pure capsaicin. I'd never seen anything like it.

(Anyone who has ever actually had Old El Paso taco seasoning mix knows it's not really very hot at all.)

I don't know whether the European (or at least northern German) appetite for spicy foods has evolved in the intervening decades, but from what I could tell, the concept of chile spice was so foreign to them as to be completely inedible.
posted by hippybear at 11:58 AM on September 24, 2010


« Older Continuous Chest Compression CPR   |   Push pineapples Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments