Selecting Chiles

Chiles are so popular entire cuisines, such as that of Mexico, seem to be built around them.

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Look for bright-colored chiles and avoid chiles that are shriveled, bruised, or broken.

A variety of types now can be found in most grocery stores. To find some of the less common peppers, such as pasilla and pequín, check Latin and Asian markets. Jalapeños probably are the most popular chiles with Americans. But if the heat is too much for you, substitute the milder Anaheim. For fiery flavor, habañeros rate high; their heat is intense, but it doesn't seem to linger as long as many other chiles. Fresh habañeros also have a fruity element to their flavor that makes them good in fruit salsas. When shopping for fresh chiles, look for bright colors and avoid any that are shriveled, bruised, or broken. Store them, covered, in your refrigerator for up to five days. Dried chiles will keep for up to a year in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

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More Cooking with Fruits and Vegetables

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