It Is Hot!

Celebrating National Totally Chipotle Day

Did you know that as of 2011, there were over 38,000 restaurants in the U.S. waiting to satisfy your appetite for Mexican food?

Here in America, Mexican cuisine is BIG. 

jalapenos and smoked chipotle peppersAnd there is one ingredient that makes it really hot (both literally and figuratively).

The chipotle pepper.

But how much do we know about this somewhat elusive pepper?

Today, we are going to share its rich history as well as a brand new recipe in celebration of National Totally Chipotle Day on May 5th.

Where Does the Chipotle Pepper Come From?

While the popular restaurant chain has thrust the Chipotle into the limelight, the origins of this pepper nevertheless might be unknown to you.

The chipotle pepper is actually a jalapeño pepper in disguise; they are jalapeños that have been smoke-dried, changing the traditional green into a brown color.

But why were they created in the first place?

Without modern refrigeration, the Aztecs used to smoke food to make it last longer. After some chipotle pepper seasoningexperimentation, they realized that by smoking the jalapeño peppers over a fire, they could preserve the chili while at the same time enhance its flavor.

And that is precisely how the chipotle pepper was born.

The chipotle pepper is primarily made in Chihuahua, Mexico although nowadays chipotle production has expanded to the US.  A Chipotle Morita is the specific name of peppers that are produced in Chihuahua. Morita means the ‘little purple one’ and refers to the deep red, purplish color that is common in the chipotle.

National Totally Chipotle Day is celebrated on May 5th, which is also Cinco de Mayo—an important Mexican holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Why Chipotle Peppers Are Good for You

pile of chipotle pepper seeds and spicesChipotle peppers are packed with nutrients including capsaicin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Studies have shown that chipotle can reduce the risk of cancer due to its capsaicin content. Capsaicin (which is what makes hot peppers hot) has been linked to “cell suicide” or apoptosis in cancerous cells.

Other experimental studies suggest that capsaicin may play a critical role in cardiovascular function and that its receptor may be a potential target for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and cardiometabolic vascular diseases, such as hypertension.

Who knew?

Dr. Rosane Oliveira and Southwest Chipotle QuinoaSo What Is the Best Way to Eat Them?

While jalapeños are often eaten alone, or sliced atop a plate of nachos, chipotle peppers are traditionally used as an ingredient in various Mexican dishes.

One of the most common uses of the chipotle is in salsa or barbecue sauce. It is also found in pre-made spices and sauces, such as chipotle powder, chipotle chili paste, and adobo sauce.

And if you are looking for a recipe of your own to try, give our Southwest Chipotle Quinoa a go. You are going to love the colors and flavors!

Enjoy the smoky, savory chipotle pepper and have a happy National Totally Chipotle Day!