Q: Dear Dave,
I am arranging a chile tasting here in the UK, to see which of this year’s pepper trials are the best. I’m planning on making a salsa for each chile variety but am unsure as to how much chile to put into each one. We are growing the Espanola from NMSU and the Zimbabwe bird pepper. One pod of each variety seems the obvious choice, but I also think that a set weight, i.e. 10grams of seeded chile, would be better. I’m a good grower of chiles but not by any means a scientist.
A: Hello Matthew:
I think that the raw pods should be tasted rather than a salsa. The tomatoes, onions and herbs in a salsa will disguise the chile flavors. However, if you wish to make salsas, consider the fact that generally speaking, the smaller the chile, the hotter it is. So one pod of each variety will make salsas of varying heat. Ten grams of Zimbabwe bird pepper will make the salsa inedible. You should try to make each salsa the same heat scale, say medium, by adjusting the number of chiles added to each one by doing a taste test.