Despite being in the same botanical family as potatoes, chiles have an unmistakable heat and an incredible flavor unlike any other. Given the misnomer of "pepper," they are fruits! Chiles are a unique ingredient, present in cuisines all over the world. They are believed to lessen the instances of cancer in populations who consume a lot of them. They may be called chiles, chilis chile peppers, or chili peppers, but no matter the spelling of their name, they continue to be some of the most versatile ingredients in the chili pot, so to speak. Chiles are one of those foods that has a cult following, affectionately called "chileheads." These are the people that will film themselves eating the hottest chiles possible and who stock gallons of milk in their fridge to cool the burn when they're bitten off more than they can chew. Incorporating chiles into your diet doesn't have to be painful, but it can add a little adventure to your regular mealtime routines.
Not all chiles are just hot! Some offer distinct flavors aside from their heat. In this section, you can explore the different flavors of chiles, learn about how a chile becomes a chipotle, and begin to better understand the Scoville Heat Scale, amongst other things that are required for a good knowledge about our favorite spicy fruits.
When you cook with chiles frequently, it is likely that you have dried chiles on hand. Understanding how to work with them is one of the most basic parts of becoming a master chef. Chiles can add a variety of components to any dish, from the fruity sweet heat of the habanero to the smoky raisin flavor of the ancho, all the way to the blistering heat of a Carolina reaper.