Whole Morita Chipotle: At a Glance
Morita Chipotle peppers are native to Mexico, and they are what Americans most commonly refer to as “chilies.” They are essentially smoked jalapeños that have turned red due to ripening.
Typically, when we think of jalapeños the first thing that comes to mind is hot or spicy, but believe it or not, many jalapeños can also be on the mild side and even include a delicious sweet flavor that is almost similar to berries. Simply put, they can be used to enhance just about any dish.
Cooking with Whole Morita Chipotle
Morita Chipotle jalapeño peppers, when in their powdered form, are used as an ingredient in some brands of barbecue sauce and hot sauce, as well as some premade stews. In their whole form, they are most commonly used when making stews, soups, or salsas.
The jalapeno pepper 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 short amount of time as opposed to other peppers, such as their sister pepper, the Meco Chipotle chile. Because they are only smoked for a brief amount of time, they are able to maintain their sweet, smoky-fruity flavor.
As American taste buds are ever changing and 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
In order to enhance the flavor, we suggest toasting your chilies in a hot skillet until fragrant which shouldn’t take very long. Then rinse them off with warm water.
Lastly, we suggest soaking them in hot water for about ten minutes, just in order to rehydrate them a bit. Once they are rehydrated, you can cut them and add them to your recipe as desired.
Whole 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 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. 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 jalapeno peppers. Chipotle peppers were also 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, and pumpkin seeds, plus chocolate and caramel to keep them sweet.
Cultivation of Whole Morita Chipotle
Growing jalapeno peppers is not as difficult as you might think. Like most chili peppers, the growing process starts off fairly 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 the soil as moist as possible, but be sure not to flood them or you can run the chances of rotting your crop. It is also important to keep them in a warm, sunlit place, where temperatures are between 80-85 °F (26-29 °C).
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 jalapeno peppers 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 and ripe in order to be able to harvest Morita Chipotle peppers.
About Our Whole 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 Morita Chipotle peppers.