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What Is a Poblano Chile?

The Poblano chile is a mild variant of the chili pepper family.
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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
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The Poblano chile is a chile pepper from the Puebla area of Mexico. It is a mild variant of a family of peppers referred to as chile or chili peppers. Poblano peppers are named after inhabitants of the Puebla area. They are a familiar sight in supermarket produce aisles in some parts of America.

A chili pepper is one of several types of peppers that are part of the nightshade pepper family, now popular around the world. The chili pepper in general originated in America, and some attribute the word “chili,” “chilli,” or “chile” to the Native American Nahuatl language. These kinds of peppers have been used in the human diet since as far back as 7500 BC. In modern American cuisine, their uses are perhaps more obscure than the bell pepper, but in many places, they are readily available for sale.

The Poblano chile pepper is a larger pepper that is generally a bit darker in its green color than a green bell pepper. The Poblano chile pepper is also more elongated. The plant of the Poblano chile pepper can grow up to 25 inches high, with multiple stems carrying peppers that can grow several inches long.

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The Poblano pepper can be used fresh, cooked, or dried into what’s called an “ancho” pepper that is used in various kinds of spices and seasonings. The fried Poblano is often used to make the popular “chile relleno” dish (translating to: “filled chile pepper” where a pepper is gutted and filled with cheese and other foods. The Poblano is often commonly used in traditional American mole sauces (pronounced mol-ay), and other kinds of authentic Mexican cuisine that Americans might encounter at home, in local “tienda” groceries, or in Mexican restaurants.

As consumers become more interested in “Mexican food” products, the Poblano pepper has become much more of a general presence on the American supermarket shelf, along with traditional options like green, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, jalepeno peppers, and smaller habaneros known for their aggressive flavor. The Poblano, as a milder pepper, is a versatile food. Some shoppers are also looking for items like the Poblano pepper that can be used fresh, allowing eaters to get more of the natural antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients in fresh produce.

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