How to cook chili peppers
While you could eat chili peppers raw, they’re best when cooked. I like to grill, roast, fry or sauté chili peppers as a base for meals. Chili peppers have a big range in terms of heat, so know what variety you purchased, and proceed with caution.
How to buy chili peppers
Look for chili peppers that are firm, bright in color, and have no visible soft spots. Chili peppers that look wrinkled are old. Store-bought chilis have most likely been covered in a wax, so I recommend roasting or grilling, then peeling the skin off before using.
How to store chili peppers
Store in the crisper for up to a week and wash right before using. Chili peppers are prone to mold, so the dryer the environment for storage, the better.
While I could have lumped chili peppers in with sweet peppers, I felt they deserved their own page. There are hundreds of varieties that differ greatly in color, size, and most importantly heat. The heat level is measured in Scovilles. Bell/sweet peppers have a rank of 0 scovilles, while jalapeños rank between 2500 and 8000. The hottest chili peppers rank well over 2 million scovilles. Red chilis rank among the hottest. Size can also be a factor: the smaller the chili pepper, the bigger the scoville score.
Chili peppers are also sold in dried form, and occasionally ground into powder to use as a spice, like cayenne or chipotle powder. I like to keep things fairly tame in my recipes by using jalapeños, serranos, and occasionally a thai chili pepper (50,000 to 100,000 scovilles).
Most of the heat from chili peppers is found in the seeds and stems so use caution when handling. The heat can transfer to your hands which means if you touch your eyes or lips after, you might feel a burning sensation. I recommend wearing gloves when dealing with the hotter varieties.