Normally peppers are a shade of green until they ripen and turn red. Also, when they are grown in hot climates they tend to be hotter than to those grown in cooler temperatures. 

A few of the better known varieties of pungent chilis/chiles are: cayenne, serrano, cascabel, jalapeno, jabanero, or habanero, tabasco, Sandia, birdeye, piquin, Coral Gem, Devil, chiltepins, and there are many more.

In New Mexico the pepper grown most widely is the long, curved, green pepper ranging from three to eight inches long that is often called Sandia, Anaheim, or even cayenne among other names. Today these are a few of the more popular New Mexico chilis being grown: Espanola, Sandia, Nu Mex, NuMex, R Naky, Nu Mex Joe Parker, Rio Grande 21 and of course my new favorite the Big Jim, or New Mexico 6, Nu Mex 6, or simply the 6.

About CHILI - New Mexico's Staple!

Contrary to popular belief, chili didn't originate in India. Apparently for many years the pepper was mistakenly thought to have originated in India, and Christopher Columbus didn't help matters when he bungled his little voyage to the New World by calling his Caribbean landing India). Chili/chile pepper wasn't born in India, or even China. Ready for this? The chili/chile comes from our neighbor South America, most likely Bolivia.

A little known fact is that George Washington was one of the earliest Americans to grow hot peppers (cayenne and bird peppers) at Mount Vernon, Virginia in 1785. Oddly, no mention of these peppers made the Martha Washington cookbook published around the same time.

Back in 1896 New Mexico rancher Emilio Ortega returned to Ventura, California with some pepper seeds to start a new business. That pepper eventually became known as the Anaheim. Ortega would soon be known throughout that part of Southern California as "the gentleman of green chili fame. "

Another pioneer of today's tremendous varieties of chili/chile is Fabian Garcia. Back in 1907, Garcia was a horticulturist at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now New Mexico State University. He is known for developing a near perfect pod through interbreeding several different pods from the surrounding valleys. Eventually New Mexicans were calling these, tasty and quite hearty peppers, “Fabian Garcias." 

The chili/chile pepper has evolved into a mind-boggling number of distinct species and varieties, taking on various shapes and pungency, depending on the soil, rainfall and temperatures. It shows up in peanut-shaped (chili piquin), cherry-shaped cherry (cherry peppers), lantern-shaped (jabanero or habanero), dumpy and pointed (jalapeno),  and of course the most common is the long and thin Anaheim. There are even more flavors than shapes. 

A Harvest of New Nexico Chile/Chile

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