Totally Chipotle Day is celebrated annually every May 5. It’s a day to pay homage to the humble chipotle pepper, which is used in Mexican and Mexican-inspired dishes in the U.S. This kind of pepper is indeed versatile enough to be used in any cuisine. Hotter than a poblano pepper but not as hot as a serrano pepper on the Scoville scale, National Totally Chipotle Day is a perfect time to stock up on these tasty peppers and use them liberally to add spice to your day.
History of Totally Chipotle Day
Chipotle peppers have been around since ancient times. It’s as old as Mexican cuisine itself. Their name comes from ‘Nahuatl,’ the language spoken by the Aztecs. It combines the words ‘chili’ (pepper) and ‘poctli’ (smoke), to mean ‘smoked pepper.’ A favorite of many pepper aficionados, it actually begins as a jalapeño pepper. There are different varieties of jalapeños with varying degrees of heat. It was once primarily found in the markets of central and southern Mexico. From the total production of jalapeños in Mexico, 60% accounts for pickled products, 20% is consumed fresh, and 20% becomes chipotle.
It became widely available in the more northern areas of North America as Mexican food became sought after and jalapeño production and processing likewise expanded to that area. The traditional process of its transformation starts when ripe, red jalapeño peppers are put out to dry. After being placed on metal grills, the peppers are then smoked in an oven for several days until they completely dry out. Many Mexican peppers have two names, one for the fresh version and another for the smoked or dried version.
The process results in an earthy and pungent ingredient. Its deep smokey flavor and complexity are best paired with flavors that help round it out. Lime juice, cilantro, garlic, or a touch of sweetness are some ideas to try. American favorites like tacos, chilis, and enchiladas are dishes that go well with their flavor. You can also use them in soups, sauces, salsa, marinades, and roasted vegetables. The possibilities for this pepper are endless!
Totally Chipotle Day timeline
Smoke-drying chipotles as a way of preserving food in case of a bad harvest is practiced in Mesoamerica.
Dried chillis make their way to Europe and beyond after Christopher Columbus brings them back from his voyage to the New World.
The Aztecs adopt the practice of smoke-drying chipotles and then pass it on to the Spaniards who eventually pass it on to the rest of the world.
Pharmacologist Wilbur Scoville creates a way to measure the heat level of peppers using Scoville Heat Units or S.H.U.
Totally Chipotle Day FAQs
What is the hottest pepper out there?
The Carolina reaper is a cross between a ghost pepper and a red habañero that clocks in at 2.2 million S.H.U., or 20x hotter than a jalapeño!
How is chipotle pronounced?
In the U.S., its pronunciation tends to be highly Americanized, as ‘tchee-POHT-lay’ or ‘tchee-POT-leh.’ Whatever you do, don’t pronounce it ‘chee-Po-til!’
What's the difference between a jalapeño and a chipotle?
Jalapeños are naturally grown and found, while chipotles are created when jalapños are smoked. Jalapeños are green and pack less heat than dark red chipotle.
Totally Chipotle Day Activities
Cook with them
Buy some chipotle peppers and use them in your favorite dishes. Mix up marinades, dips, and sides of this flavorful pepper for an appetizing bite!
Take photos of them
Pics or it didn’t happen! Share photos of your creations on your social media feed to get others salivating over your tasty meals.
Throw a Mexican fiesta party
Get those ponchos and sombreros out, it’s time for a Mexican-themed party! Serve tasty nibbles such as tacos, guacamole, and nachos. Wash them down with tequilas or margaritas and you’ve got yourselves a real party.
5 Fiery Facts About Chipotle Peppers
They’re actually jalapeño peppers
Jalapeños left on the vine are harvested when they turn red and smoke-dried to make chipotle peppers.
Jalapeños to make chipotle peppers
To make just one pound of chipotle peppers, you need ten pounds of jalapeños!
There are two types
Dark red ‘morita’ peppers have been smoked and dried for half the time of darker chipotles, while ‘meco’ peppers are smoked twice as long, resulting in a darker gray color.
It comes in different forms
You can buy them in whole pods, ground, flakes, powder, or in an adobo sauce mix.
It has a Scoville scale score
Used to measure heat in food, the chipotle pepper registers between 3,000 and 10,000 S.H.Us.
Why We Love Totally Chipotle Day
They may prevent heart attacks
Chipotle peppers are packed with nutrients that are good for our health. They have been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular diseases like strokes and atherosclerosis.
They may help diabetes sufferers
Capsaicin, an active component found in peppers, can aid in managing insulin levels in the body. This reduces high blood sugar in the body, which is one of the many dangerous conditions associated with diabetes.
They may ease respiratory conditions
Capsaicin encourages mucus secretion, emptying out the airways and sinuses. It’s then able to remove irritants or bacteria that cause respiratory or sinus issues.
Totally Chipotle Day dates