I remember the confusion when I ordered poblano pepper seeds for the first time – they were listed as ancho. After a bit of searching around, it was apparent that these are indeed poblano peppers; it’s their dried counterpart that is an ancho pepper. No matter what they’re called, they are good and you will not be disappointed growing, or eating, these!
Poblanos are a mildly spicy pepper. If you’re shy about heat but want to push your boundary, you might feel empowered adding it to some of your dishes. While they are traditionally a main ingredient in Mexican dishes such as mole and enchilada sauces, and are the star ingredient in chiles rellenos, we slice and dice them in a lot of our foods. They’re a good level of heat for miss R and honestly, me too.
Maybe it’s because I don’t grow a lot of flowers, but I have a fancy for foods that are really beautiful. The poblano is brilliant and elegant [can I call a pepper that?] When the pepper turns from a bright green to a deep, bold green, you know it’s ripe. If the length of your season allows for it, leave the pepper on still longer and it will turn a deep red color and carry a bit more heat.
Poblano peppers are also the only peppers I have ever grown that are foolproof from year to year. The sweet peppers are always less reliable, and more prone to rotting. Not to mention I have to contend with rabbits, squirrels and even mice on those ones! Every single time I have poblanos in the garden, the plants grow quite tall, and display a large showing of fruits. These peppers are often palm-sized fruits, too (yes, that’s an adult hand)!
If there are more than I need for fresh eating, I just dry the rest. I love having a jar of these gems in the pantry. Nothing flavors up a mid-winter stew like a few ancho peppers simmered to perfection! This year, I planted a substantial patch of poblanos to can my usual enchilada sauce, and experiment with roasting them for my salsa recipe.
If you didn’t grow poblanos, it might not be too late to find these beauties at your local farmer’s market. After you try them, I’m guessing you’ll want to add them to your seed list for the next growing season.
What peppers did you grow this year?