The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 7, 2014

Pick better peppers with a peck of pepper knowledge


Bell: These come in a rainbow of colors and offer distinctive sweetness; they have no heat. They add sweet, juicy flavors to everything from pizza to sauces. Perfect for stuffing. SHU: 0

Mini sweets: Served plain or stuffed with dip, mini sweets make a great low-calorie appetizer. They are very mild with a satisfying crunchy bite, and have only 25 calories. SHU: 0-100

Anaheim: A sweet, bell pepper-like flavor with a little bit of heat. Anaheims have thick outer walls good for stuffing; dice them for salsa or add them to a stir-fry for a little extra heat. SHU: 500–2,500

Poblano: Because of its naturally thick walls and relatively mild flavor, poblanos are excellent for stuffing with beef, chicken, rice, cheese and other ingredients for a full meal. SHU: 1,000–2,500

Jalapeño: This fleshy, thumb-sized fruit has a crisp outer shell and adds a bright, forward heat to any dish, particularly if the seeds are not removed during preparation. Add to salsa for an extra kick, slice and use as a topper for a sub or salad, or add to baked, grilled or fried fish. When dried and smoked, jalapeños become the complex and flavorful chipotle. SHU: 2,500–8,000

Serrano: These dark green and red peppers are about twice as hot as jalapeños. Commonly used in salsas and sauces. SHU: 10,000-25,000

Habanero: A few slivers of this dazzling hot pepper add a splash of spectacular color and extremely spicy notes to fresh salsas and hot sauces. The chiles are commercially grown on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. SHU: 350,000–850,000

April Graff, MS, RD, LD, is a reg­istered dietitian at both Mankato Hy-Vee stores and can be reached at or call 625-1107 or 625-9070. Send her ques­tions about food and nutrition, recipes, meal planning and healthy shopping.

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