There are literally hundreds of types of peppers, so if you’re looking for a way to spice up your meals, they are the perfect way to do so. Some of them will add some heat to your food, while others will simply ramp up the flavor profile of whatever you’re eating. Granted, you can’t find all of the types of peppers at grocery stores, but you can certainly use what’s available or look in specialty shops for others. Of course, you can always grow your own peppers too.
1. Hot Lemon Peppers
This is one of types of peppers you’ll find in seed catalogs and is a great one if you plan to grow your own. It’s a bright yellow pepper that is long and thin. This one is pleasantly spicy raw, but can also be cooked into sauces. Use it in salsa or salad for a great kick of flavor and spice as well as some great color. The pepper can also be eaten while it’s still green.
2. Red Cherry Hot Peppers
This is perhaps one of my favorite peppers. They're round instead of the traditional long shape and they taste great pickled. They are small like cherries, but don’t let their size fool you. These little gems pack a powerful punch. Use them on sandwiches or burgers or toss a few into your next batch of tacos.
3. Pasilla Peppers
This pepper is the dried version of the chilaca pepper and is great for chilies and soups. You can also use it to make a variety of sauces with a smoky flavor. The pasilla is also great for stuffing and tastes wonderful paired with fruit and meats.
4. Poblano Peppers
Poblano peppers are super easy to find at almost any supermarket and are easy to work with. They are perfect for roasting and adding to guacamole or salsa, but they hold up really well stuffed with cheese and fried to make chile rellenos. Poblanos are on the milder end of the heat spectrum, making them a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want to burn their tongue when they eat.
5. Habanero Peppers
If you like your food spicy, habaneros are the pepper for you. These tiny orange peppers are one of the spiciest out there, so a little definitely goes a long way. From personal experience, I also recommend cooking them outdoors or your eyes will be burning for days. You probably don’t want to eat habaneros plain, but they make a great addition to salsa, sauces and chilies.
6. Hatch Chile Peppers
Where I live you can buy huge bundles of Hatch chile peppers in the late summer and early fall and the air is filled with the aroma of roasting Hatch chilies. They are the ideal pepper for making green chili. They have a little bit of a bite, but aren’t so hot that you won’t be able to taste your food. They are easy to prepare and you can freeze them for several months so you can whip up a batch of green chili even during the winter months.
7. Tabasco Pepper
Famous for being used in the hot sauce with the same name, the Tabasco pepper is pretty spicy. They are small and are yellow, orange or red. You can use them to make sauces, but these peppers also make a great addition to fresh salsa. Of course, you can also blend them into your favorite taco or burrito filling for a tasty new treat.
Do you cook with chili peppers? What’s your favorite variety?