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Poblano Peppers – All You Need to Know | Instacart Guide to Fresh Produce

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Jul 20, 2021

What are poblano peppers?

Poblano peppers (Capsicum annuum) are also called Mexican chili peppers. They are heart-shaped and dark green but ripen to brown or dark red and are meaty like bell peppers. On the Scoville scale (a measurement of heat), poblano peppers rate between 1,000 SHU (Scoville heat units) to 1,500, putting them on the milder end of peppers. Some do, however, have a spicy kick. For example, red poblanos are spicier than green varieties.

Because poblano peppers have are large and thick-skinned, chefs often stuff them. Chile Relleno is a very popular Mexican dish featuring a poblano pepper stuffed with meat, cheese, and seasonings. Poblano peppers are very versatile. Among their many uses beyond stuffing are:

  • Cornbread
  • Guacamole
  • Dressings
  • Relish
  • Pesto
  • Sauces (especially mole, one of the most popular Mexican sauces)
  • Salsa
  • Soups

They may also be roasted and served sliced or whole as an accompaniment to a meal.

When they are dried, poblano peppers are called ancho chiles. They are then typically ground-up and used as a seasoning for a wide range of dishes. Dried ancho peppers have a chocolatey and sweet taste, similar to raisins, and can often be found in bags or jars (ground) in the spice section of grocery stores.

Where did poblano peppers originate from?

Food historians believe that poblano peppers first grew wild in the mountains of Mexico in an area called Puebla. The indigenous people of that region harvested them and used them in much of their cooking because poblano peppers are tasty and healthy.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the popularity of poblano peppers expanded to other regions. In fact, one story about the creation of the well-known Mexican dish, mole poblano, tells of a Dominican nun who was preparing a special dinner for the archbishop. She used much of the fresh produce she had on hand, which happened to include poblano.

What is the nutritional value of poblano peppers?

Low in calories and fat, poblano peppers, like many other types of fresh produce, contain a wide range of nutrients. When dry, they actually possess more vitamin A and B2 than the fresh varieties. Among the healthy vitamins and minerals within poblanos are:

  • Fiber
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin)
  • Iron
  • Potassium

How are poblano peppers grown?

Poblano pepper plants are relatively small, only growing to about 2ft. (The peppers themselves are about 4 to 6in.) The plants thrive in rich soil and direct sunlight. One plant can yield as many as 140 peppers.

The average amount of time from seed to harvest is about 65 days.

Mexico is still one of the main growers of poblano peppers, but they are also cultivated in California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.

When are poblano peppers in season?

Poblano peppers are available year-round, making them a popular choice for home chefs. Along with a wide range of other peppers and fresh produce, poblanos can be ordered from Instacart and delivered or picked up within 2 hours.

How do you pick poblano peppers at the grocery store?

Look for poblano peppers that are deep green in color. When used for stuffing, the peppers should be large and heavy enough to hold the contents and even in size.

The best poblano peppers are brightly colored, firm, and free of blemishes and soft spots. They are sold either by the pound or packaged together in batches.

If you are looking to have your groceries delivered, you can easily shop for poblano peppers via Instacart. After adding a product to your cart, use the “Instructions” option to notify your Instacart shopper about any preferences or specific directions on how to choose the best products. Shop for poblano peppers.

How to store poblano peppers

Do not wash the peppers when they arrive in your kitchen. In the refrigerator crisper drawer, they will stay fresh for a week to 10 days. Another way to store them is to peel and roast them and keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Poblano peppers will also keep in the freezer, either raw or cooked, whole or chopped. When whole, they should be frozen solid on sheets and then moved to plastic bags or containers.

How to tell if poblano peppers are bad

Soft spots, discoloration, or an off-odor are the ways to identify a poblano pepper past its prime. Next, the skin begins to wrinkle. If the entire pepper isn’t wrinkled, the bad spots can be cut off, and the rest of the pepper can be dried or frozen. But, as poblano peppers age, they may lose their spice. Dry or freeze them before that happens.

What can I substitute for poblano peppers?

Many home chefs experiment with a wide range of fresh chili peppers in their cooking. Among the recommendations in case poblanos are not available (or you want a different flavor profile) are:

  • Bell peppers (milder and colorful, and also a good choice for stuffing)
  • Anaheim peppers (medium-sized and either green or red)
  • Jalapeños (usually hotter than poblanos)
  • New Mexico chiles (red or green and also sometimes hotter)
  • Ancho chiles (dried peppers, as detailed above)
  • Guajillo peppers (sweet, tangy, and smoky)
  • Cayenne peppers (moderately hot and often available dried and ground)
  • Cubanelle peppers (sweet, slightly hot, and good for frying)

How can I find poblano peppers near me?

The freshest produce (including a wide range of peppers) can easily be found at a local grocery via Instacart and delivered to your kitchen within 2 hours. Find the best poblano peppers now.

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