Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Serrano/Fresno/Santa Fe


In Spanish, the literal translation of the word Serrano means “from the mountains.” This title is in reference to the supposed origin of this chile from the mountain ridges, or serranias, located north of Puebla and Hidalgo in Mexico.

Uses: Serranos are primarily used in fresh green form, but will also ripen to a sweeter and more mature dark red. Either color can be used interchangeably in fresh salsa, roasted for sauces, or pickled. This is a great substitute for a Thai chile if one cannot be found. Serranos are mostly used fresh due to their thick flesh, making drying difficult.

Heat: Hot.


This chile was named for the city of Fresno, CA where it was very likely developed by the Clarence Brown Seed Company in 1952. The Fresno chile is a medium sized wax-type fruit and is sweet ad hot, especially when allowed to ripen entirely to its red form. Don’t mistake it for a red Jalapeno, the Fresno has broader shoulders and more heat. It may also be mistaken for a Santa Fe chile that has a similar broad shape, but may be distinguished by color. Fresnos are never yellow or orange like the Santa Fe, but mature from light green to red.

Other Names: May be referred to as chile caribe or chile cera.

Uses: Fresno chiles are often used in the green stage for seasoning, sauces and pickling. They are also excellent for use in salsas, ceviches, stuffing, and may be roasted and added to sauces.

Heat: Hot.

Santa Fe Grande

The Santa Fe is a type of guero chile, a Spanish word for blonde. This word applies to any yellow pepper or chile in Mexico. Although the Santa Fe ripens fully to a deep red, it is often used in a mature yellow phase therefore making it relevant as a blonde/guero chile. These chiles are grown throughout the southwestern U.S.

Uses: Santa Fe chiles have a thick flesh and perhaps a melon-like flavor with a good sharp heat. Traditional uses are in yellow moles, salsas and they may be pickled. Additionally, ornamental quality of these and other small chiles is not to be overlooked.

Heat: Hot.

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