With more than 50,000 varieties of pepper worldwide it’s possible that you have not heard of an Anaheim pepper.
Even if you cook from scratch on a regular basis and include peppers in your meals you may be unfamiliar with this particular pepper.
So what is an Anaheim pepper? We take a look at this variety of chile pepper and discover all there is to know about it; what it looks like, where the name comes from and how hot it is.
We’ll even give you some recipes that you can try out for yourself.
Name And Origin Of The Anaheim Pepper
The Anaheim pepper is named for the city of Anaheim in California. The peppers originated in New Mexico but were brought to southern California around 1894.
Subsequently, the Anaheim pepper was grown commercially by Emilio Ortega, the founder of the Ortega brand of Mexican food products.
Anaheim peppers are classified as capsicum annuum, and are the young, mild and unripe, stage of a pepper native to New Mexico. This pepper is a member of the nightshade or Solanaceae family.
The Anaheim pepper is also known as the California pepper, Hatch pepper, Magdalena pepper or simply, New Mexico pepper depending on where you buy them.
What Does Anaheim Pepper Look Like?
Green Anaheim peppers are elongated and curved green chile peppers which typically average between 6 and 10 inches in length. They have a conical shape which tapers slightly toward the tip of the pepper.
The pepper has a thick skin which is smooth and has a glossy, waxy sheen. Color can vary between light to dark green hues and there are linear indentations which run the length of the pepper, some of which are quite deep.
Beneath the skin of the pepper the flesh is a pale green with faint lines. Inside the pepper there is a central cavity which has white membranes and round seeds which are a cream color.
The flesh of the Anaheim pepper is crunchy, fresh and has a peppery taste which is slightly fruity. The taste doesn’t linger on the palate.
How Long Do Anaheim Peppers Take To Mature?
The Anaheim pepper is thought to be developed from a chile cultivar local to New Mexico, called the No. 9 by Dr Fabian Garcia at the New Mexico State University.
It is believed that the Anaheim peppers were bred to have a milder flavor and a thicker flesh.
If you are considering growing Anaheim peppers in your own garden it will take between 60 and 75 days for them to mature.
When you want to harvest your peppers it is not recommended that you simply pull them off of the plant. Instead, you should carefully cut them from the parent plant with a sharp pair of scissors or a knife.
This allows and encourages the rest of the plant to continue growing and producing more peppers.
How Hot Are Anaheim Peppers?
The heat of an Anaheim pepper can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. These include the growing climate, amount of sunlight during cultivation, and soil type.
Anaheim peppers grown in Anaheim are milder and range in heat from 500 to 2,500 SHU, according to the Scoville scale.
Those peppers which are grown in New Mexico may become as hot as a jalapeno which ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU.
It can be difficult to ascertain how hot the Anaheim peppers are without some kind of comparison, so we have listed the heat of some other peppers for you to compare and contrast the Anaheim peppers to.
- Bell pepper: 0 Scoville Heat Units
- Anaheim pepper: 500-2,500 Scoville Heat Units
- Poblano pepper: 1,000-1,500 Scoville Heat Units
- Jalapeño pepper: 2,500-8,000 Scoville Heat Units
- Cayenne pepper: 30,000-50,000 Scoville Heat Units
- Habanero pepper: 100,000-350,000 Scoville Heat Units
- Ghost pepper: 850,000-1,000,000 Scoville Heat Units
- Carolina Reaper pepper: 1,400,000-2,200,000 Scoville Heat Units
Are Anaheim Peppers Healthy?
Green Anaheim peppers are a great source of vitamins A and C. These are antioxidants which protect the body from external factors such as free radicals and also boost the immune system.
Other nutrients in Anaheim peppers are vitamins B6, vitamin K, potassium and fiber.
What Do You Do With Anaheim Peppers?
Anaheim peppers are harvested at different times for different uses, in its green unripe state but also as a mature red pepper. They are popular in southwestern Latin cuisine and are used for drying and canning.
As a substitute for bell peppers, Anaheim peppers can be added to dishes that are a little bland to give them some extra flavor.
The peppers can also be stuffed with cheese and meat, then dipped in egg and fried to make a version of chile relleno.
Aside from cooking Anaheim peppers they can also be used as a flavoring in cocktails such as margaritas and palomas.
They also pair well with cheese, poultry, pork, eggs, rice, black beans, avocado and zucchini. Mixing them with spices such as cumin and cilantro also works well.
How To Store Anaheim Peppers
Anaheim peppers can be kept for a week or two when stored whole, unwashed and in the refrigerator. Canned or dried pepper will keep for a year when stored in a cool, dark, and dry place.
Dried Anaheim peppers can be ground down into a powder and stored in a sealed, airtight container. Use it to sprinkle on dishes to add some flavor and heat.
Alternatively, put your Anaheim peppers in a sealed bag and then pop them into the freezer.
Preserving Your Anaheim Peppers
As one of the first canned products to be developed in California the Anaheim pepper gained national attention and recognition in the late 19th century.
Farmer Emilio Ortega was fascinated by their mild flavor and brought seeds from New Mexico.
He started to cultivate the peppers in his own garden in southern California. Ortega learned how to fire roast and preserve the peppers in canned form.
He went on to develop the first commercial food company in Anaheim called The Ortega Chile Packaging Company.
They are still canned under the Ortega name today and are part of a large range of Latin cuisine products.
Can You Dry Anaheim Peppers?
Yes you can dry Anaheim peppers and when they are dried they are known as Verde del Norte, Chile de la Tierra, and Seco del Norte.
Dried Anaheim peppers are the mildest dried chiles that you can get. Chile seco del norte is most commonly found in chile powder.
If you want to dry Anaheim peppers you can use several different methods to do this. For speeding up the process it’s a good idea to cut the peppers into smaller pieces.
When you dry the Anaheim peppers it does increase their heat but as they are not very hot to begin with this shouldn’t present you with a problem.
Air drying Anaheim peppers works perfectly if you live in a hot, arid climate. All you need to do is hang them outside and let nature do the hard work for you.
You’ll be rewarded with spicy, dried chiles that you can add to many of your favorite dishes.
It’s also possible to use a dehydrator to dry these peppers or if you don’t have one, an oven set at its lowest temperature is the next best option.
Cooking With Anaheim Peppers
Green Anaheim peppers can be used in a variety of cooking methods including grilling, roasting and baking.
One of the most popular ways of cooking Anaheim peppers is to fire roast them. This chars the skin so that it can be removed from the pepper and allows you to use the flavorful flesh underneath. Then it can be added to salsas, pasta, sauces or other savory dishes.
What Are Some Anaheim Pepper Recipes?
So now that you know all about Anaheim peppers you probably want to use them in some recipes and find out how good they taste.
We have four recipes that you can use these crispy, mild peppers in, although there are many more to choose from.
This recipe is for authentic chiles rellenos which are made using Anaheim peppers. They are filled with melted queso Oaxaca and coated in a crispy batter. They are delicious served with a warm ranchero salsa.
The preparation time is only 20 minutes and cooking this dish takes just half an hour. The recipe will yield 12 chiles rellenos.
Delicious stuffed Anaheim peppers are very easy to prepare and take just 10 minutes to put together. Cooking time is half an hour and the recipe yields enough for 4 servings.
You can substitute the ground beef in the recipe for ground turkey or shredded chicken if you prefer. Vegetarians can leave out the meat altogether and stuff the peppers with other vegetables and even more cheese.
3. Salsa Verde
Salsa verde is a wonderfully versatile dish and can be used for a whole host of dishes and occasions. Make it as a topping for burritos, tacos or enchiladas or as a dip for your favorite tortilla chips.
Anaheim peppers with poblano, serrano, and jalapenos peppers combine to create an incredible flavor with a kick. Preparation time is 30 minutes and cooking time is just 15 minutes.
Caldo de queso con papas is a traditional soup from the northern states of Mexico. It’s full of delicious queso fresco and chunks of potato in a milky stock. The Anaheim peppers are roasted for flavor before they are added to the dish.
Preparation takes just 10 minutes and the dish is cooked in only 45 minutes.
Anaheim Pepper Substitute
If you don’t have any Anaheim peppers available, and it is one of the ingredients that you need for a recipe, there are things that you can substitute. As Anaheim peppers are quite mild you can add green bell pepper to a recipe instead.
For a take on chile relleno you can substitute poblano peppers for Anaheim peppers, as they are quite flavorful and easy to stuff.
Cubanelle peppers are a close alternative to use in place of Anaheim peppers as they are mild, with a touch of heat. But they are considered a sweet pepper whereas the Anaheim peppers are not.
Well there you go, now you know what an Anaheim pepper is! So next time you are at the grocery store or market check them out and grab some for one of our delicious recipes.
We hope that you have enjoyed this guide to what an Anaheim pepper is and that it has inspired you to add this chile pepper to your cooking in the future.