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Chili Plants

Chart of Chile Types

Here’s a quick chart of chiles that I’ve grown in Texas and how they performed. My favorites are in bold.

Name Flavor Yield
Jalapeno Hot, but not overly High
Jalapeno (Tam) Milder than regular Jalapeno—never had heat. High
Poblano Can be hot, but often are quite mild—good for rellenos (stuffed peppers) and flavoring sauces or stuffing of any kind (such as crab, or bread stuffing). Good
Anaheim Mild.

Good chile taste but can be easily used in place of green peppers (I like the flavor of anaheims a lot better than green peppers). Also good in stuffing or to round out salsa. Chile flavor without too much heat. This chile grown in hill country area has been thin-walled.
Serrano Very hot. Too hot for me to use effectively except maybe whole in Chinese stir fry (but removed from final dish). Very high
Tabasco Pretty to look at, too hot for me to eat or cook with. Flavor isn’t quite “chile” to me. Very high
Yellow Bell Did very well, can suffer from blossom end rot. Thripes can be a problem–check inside the blossoms for tiny orange bugs if your blossoms aren’t setting. This is a sweeter pepper than green bell, but not as sweet as red bell peppers. high
Red Bell Didn’t do as well as the yellow peppers, also suffered some from blossom end rot. Thripes were a problem. More on thripes. I found these to be the sweetest of the bell peppers–delicious! low
Posted: July 24, 2006
Filed in Chili Plants

Chiles in Texas

I get asked a lot of questions about chile plants and how to grow them. They are easy to grow, but they will taste different depending on where you grow them. The heat and flavor change based on soil conditions, whether they are picked just after a good watering, and maybe most important—nighttime temperatures.

Of course the type of chile matters also, but given the same seeds, the chile will be hotter if grown in New Mexico with its different soil and cooler nights than if grown in Texas. Yes, I actually tried this experiment. I took seeds from a chile grown in NM and grew it here in Texas. It was not nearly as spicy (hot).

I have also noted that jalapenos and poblano peppers are hotter during the early or late production cycles. The cooler the nights, the hotter the pepper. No, I didn’t scientifically record temperatures, but my jalapeno plants produce mild fruit in the summertime and chiles with a lot more heat in October. The same thing happened to my poblano plants. Getting an early start growing these plants yields hotter chiles early and milder ones as the summer warms.

Chile plants can actually live for years; I had an Anaheim plant in Houston for five years. The plant got about five feet high and four feet across—quite a bush. At that size, it produced enough for an entire family on the one plant.

My favorites: Jalepeno, one or two plants will be enough for the season, Poblano, yellow and red bell pepper. The fleshier chiles seemed to do better in Austin Hill Country than anaheims, big jims and other long green peppers.

Here’s a quick cheat sheet of some of the chiles I’ve grown.

Posted: July 22, 2006
Filed in Chili Plants