JALAPEÑO CHILES (Chipotle or morita chiles)

Mexico is the center of origin, domestication and diversification of the Capsicum annuum chile variety; these plants are woody-stalked and shrub-like. Their flowers are usually white, sometimes greenish. Fruits vary in size, color and flavor, depending on soil type, climate, etc.
The jalapeño belongs to this species. In various regions it is known as chile cuaresmeño, tornachile, acorchado, rayado, tres lomos, candelaria, espinalteco or pinalteco, gordo, g(h)uachinango and jarocho.
The jalapeño takes its name from the city of Jalapa (in the Central Gulf Region) where it was grown in large quantities and marketed to the rest of the country. The region produces them to date though it is no longer the most important center of production.
According to Dr. Janet Long, the alternate name of chile cuaresmeño, i.e., “Lenten chile,” was conferred by Mexico City-area residents, because these chiles were prepared stuffed with cheese and traditionally served on meatless days during Lent.
Jalapeños are conical and elongated; fresh, their color ranges from green to dark green; ripe they are red; and some varieties develop stripes as they ripen. Dr. Long also asserts that in certain areas, due to their resemblance to scaly fish, the fruits became known as guachinangos or huachinangos—the Spanish word for snapper. They range in size from 5-8 centimeters and some can grow to twelve; spiciness varies from subtle to intense piquancy.
Fresh jalapeños, with or without seeds, are chopped, prepared martajado-style or ground for salsas that accompany antojitos and certain meat dishes; roasted, boiled, martajados or ground, they are used in salsas, light moles or as a base for chileatoles; roasted (with skin and seeds removed) they are stuffed; whole or sliced, they are cooked or escabeche-pickled in vinegar for industrial and domestic canning, as a means of extending use-life.
Jalapeño production and consumption is centered in the Northern Highlands (Chihuahua), the Central Highlands and North Pacific (Sinaloa) regions.
Most production leads to pickling (for domestic and export markets) and, to a lesser extent, for fresh consumption; the remainder are used to make chipotles.
Chipotle chiles (also known as chipocle, chilpocle, chilpotle, chilpote) are dried and smoked jalapeños. In some communities—and since pre-Hispanic times—drying and smoking are carried out by hand, but most production now takes place in industrial ovens that dry and smoke in a single operation. Regardless, chipotles feature a dark, wrinkled appearance, and are highly spicy.
They are sold at markets in the Central Highlands for use as the main ingredient of both savory and sweet salsas, served hot or cold, as well as in stews; they can be prepared in both escabeche and adobo marinades. Artisanally as well as industrially prepared chipotles are an ingredient in numerous other dishes.
Mora and morita chiles are jalapeño varieties. They differ from the latter in size; moritas are the smallest. Both peppers are prepared in the same way as chipotle, but are even spicier. Their use and consumption are similar to that of the chipotle as well.


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