Chile peppers are an essential part of cuisines all over the globe; they feature in traditional dishes from Senegal, China, India, Spain, Thailand, and countless other countries. While they vary greatly in size, color, and heat, all chile peppers owe their signature fiery character to the chemical compound capsaicin, the bulk of which resides in the seeds and ribs of the pepper. Larger peppers tend to be more mild, since proportionally they have fewer seeds and veins than smaller varieties. Whatever the potency, they add a welcome kick to everything from stews to sauces to drinks to desserts.
HOW TO BUY
Choose chiles with vivid colors; avoid any shriveling or soft spots.
HOW TO STORE
Store at room temperature for up to 5 days or for longer keeping, in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper drawer. Store them separately from other vegetables, as their oils can transfer to other produce.
HOW TO PREPARE
It’s best to wear gloves when prepping chile peppers, as washing your hands won’t necessarily remove all the oils. If you want less heat, discard the pepper’s seeds and ribs before using them.