Chile Powder, New Mexico
New Mexico Chiles are frequently mistaken for the Anaheim Chile Peppers (also called California Chiles). New Mexico chiles are a subspecies of Capsicum annuum, and while visually and genetically similar to Anaheim peppers, they have a different texture and are a bit hotter, coming in at 800-1,400 SHU (Anaheim chiles are 500 - 1,000). They’re also considered more flavorful than the California Chiles. New Mexican cuisine differs from that of Arizona and Texas as New Mexican cooks have an almost obsessive use of chiles as a food, instead of just a spice used to “add some flavor”.
Chiles in New Mexico are native to Central Mexico, and most of the varieties of chiles have been developed over the last 130 years at New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute. New Mexico chiles are planted in early April and are harvested between late August and early October. The area’s ideal growing climate features 360 days of sunshine a year with dry air and cool nights. As summer draws to a close, the green chiles are maturing and turn a deep, rich red color. This changes the flavor profile of the chile, as it becomes a bit mellower and sweeter as it matures.
Red New Mexico Hatch Chiles, when ground into a chile powder, are also known as the table condiment “molido” or “New Mexico Molido”. New Mexico Chile Powder has a deep dark reddish brown color and is most commonly found in Southwestern and New Mexican cuisine. It is also used in traditional red chile sauces to create an authentic New Mexican flair. You can use this to add zest (or piquancy) to salsas, chutneys, seasonings, soups, stews and dry rubs.