How to select for best flavor:
When buying fresh hot peppers, choose brightly-colored, shiny, fresh-looking peppers. Avoid peppers that are limp or shriveled. Remember, the smaller the pepper the hotter the flavor.
Peak of the season:
August and September are the months when there are a lot of peppers available. The price will generally be lower at this time. Peppers are available most of the year. From December through April, they probably come from Mexico and the price is usually higher.
Hot chili peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Red peppers have more of these vitamins than green, and hot peppers have more than sweet. One pepper, depending on its size, will have less than 20 calories, no fat and about 3 mgs. of sodium. Most likely you won’t eat enough to affect your diet significantly.
Some common varieties of chili pepper are:
Green or Fresno – a small, dart-shaped green chili that is not too hot.
California Long Green or Anaheim — is longer and fairly mild. These are very good for Chili Relleno.
Serrano — is a small, thin green or red pepper that is very hot.
Yellow Wax – also known as Guero or Caribi — this is a very hot pepper and is very good pickled.
Jalapeno — thinner and longer than the Fresno. This is a very hot pepper.
Long Red Cayenne — these are usually sold dried and are very hot.
Tabasco — a very small yellow pepper that makes great hot sauce.
There are several other varieties. They each have a distinct flavor under their heat and can add an extra dimension to your cooking. Proceed with caution, but don’t be afraid of them.