What Is Chipotle?


What is chipotle?

It’s time to turn the heat up in the kitchen!  Not with your stove, but with chipotle!

That word alone makes me crave the earthy, rich, and smoky flavor of this ancient spice.


Chipotle: An Ancient Spice For Modern Times

Often mistaken as its own distinct species of pepper, the chipotle is actually just a fully-ripe, smoke-dried jalapeno.  The practice of smoking ripened jalapenos dates back to Mesoamericans who smoked the peppers as a form of food preservation.

The Aztecs adopted this practice who introduced it to the Spaniards in the 1500s.

The word “chipotle” is based on two Aztec words, the word for chili and for smoke.  Jalapenos are left on the bush until they have lost most of their moisture.  It is at this point that they are picked, and smoked, typically for several days.  The texture of the just-smoked chipotle resembles a raisin or prune.


Turn Up The Heat With Chipotle

On the heat scale, chipotles measure in at 5,000 to 10,000 Scoville Units.  To give you some perspective, one of the hottest peppers, the Carolina Reaper, clocks in at 800,000 to 3.2 million Scoville units.  Ouch!

Today, the chipotle pepper is a staple in the kitchens of celebrity chef’s and home cooks.  You can purchase chipotles packed in adobo sauce and in powdered form.  Adobo is a tomato-based marinade that provides a nice balance to the heatpacking chipotle.

The health benefits of the chipotle are numerous.  If you’re looking to fire up your metabolism and your health, add a bit of this wonderful heat to your recipes!

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