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Chipotle Pepper Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

chipotle pepper shu

Scoville Rating
5,000 - 10,000 SHU

Chipotle peppers are jalapeno peppers that have been smoke dried. They are brown and rather wrinkled after processing. Growers will harvest jalapeno peppers, to ship to market, while they are green and unripe.  When the jalapeno growing season is complete, the remaining pods are left on the plants to allow ripening and most of the moisture to leave them. Ripened jalapeno peppers are a bright red color. The remaining pods are gathered to be processed into Chipotle peppers. Mexico and the United States markets require an exceptional amount of these fresh peppers. Most of the production and processing was done in Mexico until recent years. Processing is now popular in the United States and many other locations around the world.

Processing Peppers

The harvested jalapeno peppers are taken into an enclosed chamber specially designed and sealed for smoking. They are thinly spread about onto grills made of metal. A wood fire is started in the firebox. The smoke from the fire is allowed to enter the chamber. During processing, the jalapeno peppers require stirring every three to four hours. This improves the penetration of the smoke. Smoking of the peppers will take up to four days or until they are dried completely out. When processing is complete, the Chipotle pepper will be wrinkled and resemble a dried prune. Processors show that one pound of Chipotle peppers requires ten pounds of jalapeno peppers to produce.

With extended research and the advancement of technology, many processing plants are utilizing gas dryers and liquid smoke. Processing seals in the heat of the jalapeno pepper.

Additional Info

Many cuisines, such as Tex-Mex or Mexican-American, use this type of processed chili pepper. The Chipotle pepper has a spiciness that imparts an earthy flavor. The dried peppers are available in various forms. Many supermarkets and grocery stores carry Chipotle products, such as powder, pods, canned, concentrated base, and wet marinade. Mexican cuisine use the Chipotle pepper in many salsas and dishes that are slow cooked. The thick dried flesh must be slow cooked to get the maximum amount of flavor. Individuals, who are unable to find Chipotle peppers in local stores or markets, may benefit from searching online vendors.

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Image Credit: Carstor