When it comes to peppers, there are numerous variations found all over the world, some moderate and tangy, and others extremely hot and not for the faint of heart.
They have become so popular that they are featured in many of the dishes we so readily consume, especially food with a Latin or Asian heritage.
One example is the poblano pepper, a common ingredient used in countless dishes. But what exactly is it, and what does it taste like?
What Is A Poblano Pepper?
A poblano is a mild chili pepper that originated in the state of Puebla, Mexico.
While generally mild and unassuming in flavor, they can unexpectedly be hot – depending on a combination of environmental factors that may be present during the growing process.
This is also true within plants from the same family, which have been shown to vary in terms of hotness drastically. For example, the ripened red poblano is significantly hotter than the standard poblano.
Poblano VS Pasilla Peppers: The Difference?
In the United States, poblano peppers are sometimes inaccurately sold under the name pasilla peppers.
In actuality, pasilla peppers are the dried version of chilaca chili peppers, a skinner and often spicier Mexican pepper that bears a striking resemblance to the poblano.
This is obviously something that shoppers need to watch out for when choosing the right peppers, and you can tell which one you are choosing based on the thickness and the overall look of the peppers.
What Do Poblanos Taste Like?
Describing the taste of peppers can be something of a complex issue, as the first thing our mouths and brains notice is the spiciness or sharpness that they are best known for.
However, defining the flavor is possible, and as far as the poblano pepper is concerned, the flavor could be described as being similar to the standard green bell pepper – albeit slightly spicier.
When poblanos have been cooked, they can take on a sweeter flavor – which makes them a popular ingredient in a lot of dishes around the world.
What Are Poblanos Used For?
Generally speaking, poblanos are pretty versatile – however there are specific dishes that they are more notably used for.
They can be dried, stuffed with various things (such as cheese), and mole sauces. They can also be coated in whipped egg and fried to make them crispy.
The pepper has particular significance during the Mexican Independence festivities, where it is used in the dish chiles en nogada – wherein the chilies are stuffed with picadillo, topped with a walnut based cream sauce, and topped with parsley and pomegranate seeds.
The latter dish is designed to reflect the red, white, and green colors of the Mexican flag, and has much significance within the fabric of contemporary Mexican culture and cuisine.
How To Cook Poblano Peppers
When it comes to cooking poblano peppers, there are several different methods you can use to achieve different culinary outcomes.
Generally speaking, poblano peppers were born to be roasted, and this is the primary way that they are presented within Mexican cuisine.
Whether you roast them on a grill, under a broiler, in the oven, or over an open flame, the roasting process really brings out the fruitier flavors of the flesh of the poblano, and makes the process of removing the (otherwise tough) skin much easier.
To properly roast them, you should let them cook until the skin is blackened, but make sure that the insides are still pretty firm. If they are mushy you have gone too far.
Once you have blackened them sufficiently, take them from under the heat and put them in a plastic bag to sweat the skin loose and make them easier for peeling.
As mentioned, poblano peppers can also be coated in whipped egg and fried, to create a crispier, saltier flavor.
This is another popular method of presenting the peppers, and there are numerous dishes in Mexican cuisine where fried peppers hold center court.
How Should Poblano Peppers Be Stored?
Of course, as with any fruit or vegetable, there are proper ways to store the poblano pepper to ensure you get the most longevity possible.
Like with similar items, the best place to store poblanos is unwashed in the vegetable crisper drawer in your refrigerator.
This is the best place for them, and in most circumstances they will remain good and fresh to eat for approximately 2 to 3 weeks.
Once they have been roasted, peeled, and sliced, they can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for approximately 3 days.
Where Can You Buy Poblano Peppers?
Buying any new fruit or vegetables can be tricky, and knowing where to get them can be a big hurdle for many – especially those in more rural areas with less access to grocery stores etc.
However, poblanos are even quite popular in the United States, particularly the more southerly states that are close to the Mexican border.
In fact, they are regularly imported from Mexico, and can be found first and foremost at Mexican markets throughout the American southwest.
What To Look For
When purchasing poblano peppers fresh, there are certain positive characteristics you should look for.
These include brightness of color, firmness, a lack of spots and marks, and absolutely no blemishes (or as few as possible).
Poblano peppers are usually sold loose and individually – especially in Mexican markets – and as such you can usually pick the ones you want and take your time doing so.
When it comes to dried poblano peppers – otherwise known as ancho chilies – these can be purchased year round in dried food markets.
Alternatively, they can be purchased and ordered online through trusted suppliers and supermarket chains.
Can You Grow Your Own Poblanos?
Like most fruits and vegetables, it is more than possible to grow your own poblanos at home, and they are generally resilient plants that are more than capable of holding their own in beds or pots.
They especially thrive in the warm, dry summer months, and are usually ready to harvest within roughly two months of seeding.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about poblano peppers, and what exactly they taste like.
It’s true that there are many variations of pepper in the world – some mild and tangy, and others fiery and hot. However, when it comes to a mild, enjoyable hint of spice and tanginess, you can’t wish to do better than a poblano.
What Do Poblano Peppers Taste Like?Course: Taste Like
- Generally speaking, poblano peppers were born to be roasted, and this is the primary way that they are presented within Mexican cuisine.
- Whether you roast them on a grill, under a broiler, in the oven, or over an open flame, the roasting process really brings out the fruitier flavors of the flesh of the poblano, and makes the process of removing the (otherwise tough) skin much easier.
- To properly roast them, you should let them cook until the skin is blackened, but make sure that the insides are still pretty firm. If they are mushy you have gone too far.
- Once you have blackened them sufficiently, take them from under the heat and put them in a plastic bag to sweat the skin loose and make them easier for peeling.
- As mentioned, poblano peppers can also be coated in whipped egg and fried, to create a crispier, saltier flavor. This is another popular method of presenting the peppers, and there are numerous dishes in Mexican cuisine where fried peppers hold center court.
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