Poblano Peppers: Type, Scoville, Flavor, Uses, Benefits

What Are Poblano Peppers?

The poblano is a mild chili pepper native to the state of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called ancho or chile ancho, from the Spanish word ancho meaning ‘width’. Basically, it’s a large aromatic variety of chili pepper, usually dried and used in several Mexican dishes, and fresh chilies for stuffing.

Poblano’s taste is similar to a green bell pepper but delivers a more hot kick. People love poblano peppers for their earthy and mild spiciness.

After cooking, its heat mellows down and it becomes slightly sweet.

Ripe poblanos are red and have stronger flavors than unripe, green chilies. Most recipes require dried poblanos known as ancho chiles which are more spicy and smoky in taste. Overall, they are moderately spicy. But they are not as spicy as a serrano or a jalapeno.

Key Facts In A Gist

  • Capsicum species: Annuum
  • Origin: Puebla, Mexico
  • Other names: ancho chiles
  • Harvest: about 65 days after planting
  • Heat level: 1,000 to 1,500 SHU
  • Median heat: 1,250 SHU
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches long and 2 inches in diameter
  • Shape: large, heart-shaped
  • Color: dark green, ripening to dark red or brown
  • Flavor: earthy, slightly smoky
  • Uses: flavoring foods, stuffing, roasting
  • Products: fresh chile, ancho chiles
  • Best Substitutes: serrano pepper, ancho chile, banana pepper, habanero pepper, cubanelle pepper.

Poblano Pepper Scoville

Poblanos are mild chilies. If you are looking for something milder than Jalapeno, then this is the pepper to go with. The heat levels of Poblano range between 1,000 and 1,500 Scoville heat units. Poblanos are about two to eight times milder than Jalapeno peppers (2,500 to 8,000 SHU).

When comparing this pepper with cayenne pepper (30,000 to 50,000 SHU), poblanos are not a contender; cayenne is 30 to 50 times hotter.

The closest match for poblanos is the Anaheim chili, the difference between them is hardly noticeable. At the lower end, Anaheim peppers (500 to 2,500 SHU) are milder than poblano but have a much higher ceiling for heat. In fact, at its peak point, the heat of Anaheim can reach up to the level of Jalapenos.

What Do Poblano Peppers Taste Like?

Poblanos are typically sold green and unripe, making them extra mild. They taste like green bell peppers with a little more pungency. When they are cooked, they lose most of their heat, making them somewhat sweet.

Poblanos turn red when ripe and are more pungent than unripe, green chilies. The ripe chilies are commonly dried and sold as ancho chilies which have a peppery and slightly smoky flavor. Ancho chilies are a stepping stone into Mexican cuisine’s deep flavors and well-known culinary traditions. In fact, ancho chili is the most widely used chili pepper in Mexico.

What Are Poblano Peppers Good for?

Their large size makes them useful for stuffing. Roasted chilies in whole or sliced form are a popular ingredient in several recipes.

Most people love them for their wonderful flavor that offers a mild kick of heat tinged with a little bit of sweetness.

Some of the popular uses of poblano in cooking include buttermilk dressing, roasting, relish, pesto, stuffings, cornbread, posole, chili Rellenos, cocktail drinks, and soups.

Health Benefits of Poblanos

These peppers are not only delicious but also nutritious. They are rich in carotenoids, capsaicin, and other antioxidants.

Most chili peppers have similar health benefits but what makes the most difference is the level of concentration of capsaicin in them. Poblanos are rich in a few important nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough studies on this pepper particularly that cite the benefits.

Poblanos, belonging to the Capsicum Annuum family, is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and capsaicin. Some of these plant compounds in pepper are capable of generating vitamin A in your body.

They help to fight oxidative stress caused by excess free radicals accumulated in the body. This reduces the cell damage caused by free radicals otherwise which may increase your risk of cancer, dementia, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.

Capsaicin in poblanos is expected to help fight inflammation and reduce pain. Several recent studies have pointed out the potential role of dietary capsaicin in alleviating pain.

Poblanos loaded with vitamin C are vital to immune function. Even more, the capsaicin compound in peppers has an excellent effect on optimal immune function.

Green Poblano Chilies

Frequently Asked Questions

Are poblano peppers hot?

Poblanos with heat levels ranging between 1,000 to 1,500 SHU are mild peppers. They are many times milder than other common peppers like serrano, habanero, cayenne, or jalapeno.

What are the differences between poblanos and jalapenos?

In comparison to Jalapeno peppers, poblano peppers are larger in size but lower in heat. Jalapenos have a bright flavor, something that can be described as grassy. On the other hand, poblanos are slightly smoky and moderately sweet when cooked.

Are Pasilla peppers same as poblanos (ancho)?

Dried poblanos are known as ancho chiles, and to make things more complicated, the fresh chilies are incorrectly labeled as Pasilla pepper in many parts of America. In truth, Pasilla peppers are a dried version of Chilaca peppers, Mexican peppers which is skinnier and spicier than poblanos. When you buy Pasilla peppers always read the product label in detail to find they are made from Chilaca peppers – chances are they’re poblano peppers.

What are the differences between canned poblano peppers and fresh?

Canned poblanos are already blistered, which can help save time on meal prep and cooking. It’s also a convenient ingredient that you can stock through all seasons. It can be swapped for fresh poblano pepper in most recipes. Whatever may be the advantage, fresh chilies are more flavorful and nutritious than canned ones.

When to pick poblano peppers?

Poblano peppers are ready to harvest when they're 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) long, approximately 65 days after planting seeds. Fully grown peppers develop a dark green skin with a glossy sheen. However, poblanos for making dry peppers should be ripened to red color at the time of harvesting.

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