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An Anaheim pepper is a type of chile that is usually bright green and turns red when fully mature. It is somewhat large, ranging from about 5 to 8 inches (12 to 20 cm) long and about 1 or 2 inches (2 to 5 cm) wide. Other names for this chile, depending on its color, include the California green or red chile, chile verde or chile Colorado, or long green pepper. The Anaheim pepper can range from sweet and mild to moderately hot, usually somewhere in between a jalapeno and a habanero pepper. Their large size makes them a good choice for chiles rellenos, or they can be chopped and used in a variety of other recipes. The best time to purchase and use these chiles is in summer, although they can be found year-round in many grocery stores.
The Anaheim pepper is primarily grown in the US states of California and New Mexico, with slightly different varieties coming from each location. The New Mexico varieties are often hotter than those from California. These chile peppers have a thick skin that is best removed before cooking. This can be done by roasting the peppers on a grill or under a broiler until the skin is charred. Then they should be allowed to rest in a covered bowl or brown paper bag until cool, at which point the skin will peel off easily. Although the Anaheim pepper can be used at any point, the green varieties are most popular for cooking.
Like most other chile peppers, Anaheim peppers are simple to prepare, although it may be a good idea to use gloves when working with them, as the oil can irritate the skin. The chiles should be cut in half and the white membranes and seeds removed if they are to be used immediately, as these are the hottest parts of the chile and often have a bitter taste. An Anaheim pepper can also be kept in the refrigerator for as long as a week or in the freezer for up to a year.
Chiles rellenos are one of the most popular dishes made with the Anaheim pepper because of its large size. In this Mexican recipe, the chiles are stuffed with cheese and then battered and fried. The peppers are often served with a variety of accompaniments, including red or green salsa, rice, or beans. An Anaheim pepper can also be used in most recipes that call for fresh chiles, such as salsas and stews.