Powdered Morita Chipotle: At a Glance
Morita Chipotle peppers are native to Mexico and have become almost synonymous with the word “chilies”, at least in this country. They are essentially smoked jalapeños that have turned red due to ripening.
Typically when we think of chilies the first thing that comes to mind is heat or hot but believe it or not, many chilies can also be on the mild side and even include a delicious sweet flavor almost similar to berries (and some can also contain a sweet chocolate-like flavor and aroma) that can enhance just about any dish.
Cooking with Powdered Morita Chipotle
Morita Chipotle pepper, when in its powdered form, is used as an ingredient in both home cooking and retail products. In fact, some brands of barbecue sauce and hot sauce, as well as some premade stews, already have this particular item mixed in. They are also most commonly used in stews, soups, and salsas.
The jalapeno itself averages about 1 and 1/2 to 3 inches in length and 1/2 to 1 inch in width. When ripened, they have a deep reddish (almost purple) color with a fruity and smoky flavor. Their heat level is mild to medium, ranging from 12,000 to 26,000 on the Scoville heat scale.
They are smoked for a shorter amount of time than their sister peppers (Meco Chipotle chilies), which allows them to maintain their sweet, smoky-fruity flavor. Unlike their sister peppers, they are the ones that are most often used throughout the United States.
As American taste buds are evolving, people are discovering more creative and innovative ways for using this smoky, sweet pepper. Here are a couple of recipes ideas to get you started:
- Chile Morita Salsa
- Mexican Chipotle Chicken Soup
Powdered Morita Chipotle: History and Origination
Chipotle comes from the Nahuatl word ‘chilpoctli’ where the root word ‘poctli’ means smoked. The word ‘Morita’ means ‘small blackberry’ in Spanish. Therefore, Morita Chipotle peppers are simply smoked jalapeños that have ripened on the vine to a red color and have shrunk almost to the size of a blackberry; just think of grapes as they become raisins.
Unlike most chilies that can be dried using the sun, jalapeños cannot. In fact, there are some historians who believe that the Aztecs were the first to smoke jalapeno peppers because sun-drying could not stop them from rotting if not monitored correctly. This “smoke drying” process was originally used to dry meats, but the Aztecs found that smoking peppers also helped to preserve them so that they could be stored for long periods of time.
Part of the reason the Aztec empire began to rise was due to their importing and exporting of peppers. Chipotle peppers were used quite often for trading and in royal ceremonies, and they were often used when preparing ceremonial sauces that were served to the emperor and his guests. They often accompanied a mixture of other chilies as well as nuts, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, and (to keep them sweet) chocolate and caramel. Moreover, the sauce they would make from Morita Chipotle powder was also used to flavor deer meat, chicken, and seafood.
Cultivation of Powdered Morita Chipotle
When it comes to growing jalapeños, typically a farmer will pass through his field many times, picking the green jalapeños (unripened) for the market at large.
Growing jalapeno peppers is not as difficult as you might think. Like most chili peppers, the growing process starts off slow. Therefore, it is probably best to begin growing them indoors anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks before moving them outside.
With that said, it is best to keep them in a constantly moist environment, but be sure not to flood them or you can run the chances of rotting your crop. Also, keep them in a warm, sunlit place, temperatures between 80-85 °F (26-29 °C) is probably best.
Once you do plant them outside, it is important that you space the plants out 14 to 16 inches apart with about two to three feet between rows. These particular plants will eventually grow to about three feet high and will need to be fertilized and well-weeded.
In three to four month’s, ripe jalapeños will be bright green and four to six inches long. However, you will want to leave them on the plant all the way until they turn red (ripe) in order to be able to harvest Morita Chipotle peppers.
About Our Powdered Morita Chipotle
Our Morita Chipotle peppers are grown in New Mexico, where some of our favorite peppers are grown to full potential.
The climate of New Mexico is primarily dry, although there are some areas where alpine climates exist. The average statewide precipitation is 13.9 inches (350 mm) annually and the average annual temperatures can range from 64 °F (18 °C) to below 40 °F (4 °C). This mix of heat and slight, moist air make it a perfect place for cultivating and harvesting ground Morita Chipotle peppers.