Are Hatch Green Chile Peppers Hot?

Chile heat is a complex phenomenon. Because people have different numbers of heat receptors in their mouths two people can describe the same kind of chile differently.

Researchers use the word pungent to describe chile heat levels. The Miriam Webster Dictionary defines pungent as having an intense flavor or odor, a strong sharp taste or smell and even as sharply painful relating to taste. Peppers are tested and ranked by Scoville Heat Units.  Sweet peppers, like the bell pepper, on the low end at 0 – 100 heat units. At the high end are peppers including  Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Drabon’s Breath varities in the 1,500,000 to 3,000.000 unit range.

Peppers that the Fresh Chile Co.patrons are most familiar with include Jalapenos, guajillos, New Mexico long green chile varieties that fall in the 2,500 to 10,000 heat unit range. Serrano and Aleppo peppers are in the 10,000 to 25,000 heat unit group. Cayenne, Tobasco and Arbol peppers rank  between 25,000 and 50,000 heat units. People with more sensitive palates can enjoy Anaheim and Poblano peppers in the 1,000 to 2,500 heat units group.

Anaheim peppers are a mild cultivar commonly grown outside of New Mexico. Seed off New Mexico chiles were taken to the Anaheim, California area in 1894.

In 2012, New Mexico legislators passed a law prohibiting the sale in New Mexico of chile described as “New Mexican” unless grown in New Mexico or come with a prominent “Not grown in New Mexico disclaimer. Chiles grown around a town are marketed under the name of the town and are often sold fresh-roasted in New Mexico and nationwide in late summer and early autumn.

Hatch chiles include different varieties of species of Capsicum grown in the Hatch Valley. The valley stretches north to south along the Rio Grande from Arrey, New Mexico in the north to Tonuco Mountain to the southeast of the town of Hatch. Growing condition and soils of the valley contribute to the chiles’ special flavor.  Most of the varieties of chile grown there have been developed over the past 130 plus years at Nearby New Mexico State University.

Fresh Chile Co. Hatch Chiles are grown in the Hatch Valley. Different varieties are used

 For each of the company’s heat levels.  Customers may choose from mild to XX Hot for their sauces, salsas, special blends and powders, fresh chiles, during the harvest season, or frozen chiles and dried chile pods year ‘round.

Chile varieties used by the Fresh Chile Co. are:

Lumbre (Xtra Hot)

Sandia Select (Hot)

Big Jim (Medium-Hot)

Charger (Medium-Hot)

Joe E. Parker (Medium)

1904 (Mild)

The choice of heat level in the Red Chile Sauce, the Pure Green Chile Roast and Red and Green Chile Blend gives individuals the option of using the products straight form the jar on meats, in soups, stew and casseroles or whatever they chose. They serve as a base for adding combinations of herbs, spices and other seasonings to the jarred base to create their own special dishes and recipes at a comfortable heat level. It helps to know when it’s hot and when it’s not.


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