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Poblano Pepper

Also indexed as: Ancho Peppers

Illustration

Preparation, uses, and tips

The seeds and membranes in chile peppers contain most of the capsaicin, the compound that lends them their mouth-searing qualities. To reduce the chile’s heat, remove its seeds and veins. Fresh poblano chiles should be peeled before using. Traditional recipes recommend searing the peppers over a gas flame, or broiling them in the oven until the skins are blackened. Cool in a sealed plastic bag or foil and then remove the skins. These mild chiles, a staple of Mexican cuisine, are most often served stuffed or as a component of mole sauce.

Buying and Storing Tips

As these peppers mature they turn from green to red in color. They are mostly used when still green. Choose fresh chiles with deep colors, avoiding those that look wrinkled or soft. Poblanos may be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator for one week, or can be frozen (after they are roasted) with skin on for several months.

Varieties

Poblanos are among the mildest chile peppers, and are also known as pablano peppers; they are sometimes mislabeled as pasilla peppers. Poblano peppers are black-green when immature and turn dark red with age. After drying, poblanos may be dark red (ancho chile) or brown (mulato chile). These thick-skinned peppers range between 3 and 5 inches (7–12.5cm) long and 2 to 3 inches (5–7.5cm) wide. They tend to have a shape that is roughly heart-like, and terminate in a blunt point.

Poblanos have a heat score that ranges between 1,000 and 1,500 Scoville heat units. How high a chile pepper scores on the heat scale is determined by high-performance liquid chromatography measurement of how many parts per million of capsaicin it contains. (Capsaicin is the compound that gives chile peppers their fiery bite.) This figure is then converted into the historic Scoville heat units that signify how much dilution is necessary to drown out the chile’s heat. The heat level of a chile is given as a range because it varies with how and where the pepper was cultivated.

Nutrition Highlights

Poblano pepper (raw), 1/2 cup (75g)
Calories: 15
Protein: 0.7g
Carbohydrate: 3.5g
Total Fat: 0.1g
Fiber: 0.6g

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.

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