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Cooking with Fresh Chili Peppers

The different types of chili peppers range from mild to incendiary, so substitute with care! But even when they are the same type, the amount of “heat” can vary greatly from pepper to pepper.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
December 9, 2011

The different types of chili peppers range from mild to incendiary, so substitute with care! But even when they are the same type, the amount of “heat” can vary greatly from pepper to pepper. If you simply follow the amount called for in the recipe, you can end up with a dish that’s either too spicy or not spicy enough. When adding fresh chili peppers to a recipe, add about half of what’s called for and taste the dish, gradually adding more until you get the level of heat you desire.

You can also adjust the amount of spice by removing (or leaving in) some of the white membranes and seeds in the peppers--that’s where most of the heat resides. And, of course, take care to wash your hands thoroughly after handling peppers and avoid touching your eyes.

Chili Peppers image courtesy of Shutterstock

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