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Chile Pepper Heat Meter

Everyday Food, March 2011

Chile peppers range from sinus-clearing to sweet. Here's how much spice they'll add to a dish.

Fiery: Habanero Chile
Tiny habaneros pack a big punch -- they're one of the hottest peppers you can find at the supermarket. Can't handle the heat? Use a jalapeno in its place.

Hot: Jalapeno Chile
The eye-watering element of this pepper can vary: Those grown in dry, hot climates tend to be spicier. As with all chiles, most of the heat is in the ribs and seeds, so remove them for zesty flavor without the burn.

Warm: Poblano Chile
These chiles have a rich flavor and some heat. They're often served stuffed in the Mexican dish chiles rellenos. Dried ones, sold as ancho chiles, are reddish brown and slightly sweet. Both types are great used in enchilada sauces.

Sweet: Bell Pepper
Although technically related to the peppers above, bright bells barely have any spice. All bell peppers start out green and turn shades of yellow, orange, or red as they ripen and become sweeter.

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