What’s the world coming to when you can’t even rely upon a jalepeño or serrano chile to have a little bite to it?! In our kitchen at Tres Señoritas Gourmet we have noticed the difference as milder, genetically-altered chiles have clearly hit Mission grocers. Touted as the “Americanization of the Mexican chile”, frankly, its an insult to the American palate!
The Texas Foundation Seed Service says: “The TAM Mild jalapeño II are of mild flavor and reduced heat with a larger fruit size, and are used extensively in pickled form to spice dishes, and in mash form as the main ingredient for mild hot sauces. The fruit has a heat index on the Scoville rating of about 1,000. The original Mexican jalapeño heat index begins at about 8,000 on the scale.”
“The TAM Mild Jalapeño II possesses numerous attributes, which should be desirable to both growers and consumers. The fruit is extremely large (7-8 cm) and heavy (30-35 g) with thick, dark green flesh, very little skin cracking or anthocyanin development (black color) and mild pungency. Plants are compact in size (40-50 cm), with dense foliage cover, preventing sunburn of the fruit. Additionally, fruit set is concentrated, allowing for fewer harvests. The plants are heat tolerant and will set fruit in temperatures above 30 C” WIKI.
Convenient for growers, perhaps, but for true Mexican foodies, this is a nightmare. We recently tripled the number of jalapeños we usually use in our guacamole receipe, and still we unable to acheive the bite we were looking for. To make matters worse, the usually “hotter” serrano has been altered as well!
“The serrano pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a type of chili pepper that originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. The name of the pepper is a reference to the mountains (sierras) of these regions.The serrano pepper’s Scoville rating is 10,000 to 25,000. Their flavor is crisp, bright, and biting, notably hotter than the Jalapeño pepper they resemble, and they are typically eaten raw. Serrano peppers are also commonly used in making pico de gallo. It is one of the most used chiles in Mexico.” WIKI But now, Texas A&M has come out with what they have the nerve to call the Hidalgo Serrano Heirloom Pepper, developed in their lans, far from the state of Hidalgo. According to Plantanswers.com, “The famous serrano used in most Mexican dishes has a rating of from 7,000 – to – 25,000 with the Texas A&M Hidalgo serrano being a bit milder at 6,000 – to – 17,000. In addition to disease resistance, the jalapenos and serranos are much superior to standard varieties, and have been “cooled” down.”
“The newer, milder jalapeño has drawn complaints from food purists, chefs and chile enthusiasts across the country. Numerous responses were posted on a Web site when one reader wrote: “I can’t even make a decent spicy pico de gallo because the jalapeños are so mild. Or is this just another example of the homogenization of American agribusiness foods?”according to a Modesto Bee article in January of this year.
The solution is to judiscouly add chile manzana or habenero, Use very little, maybe a 1/3 of a chile at first as these little guys earn a rating of 100,000-350,000 on the Scoville scale. Be sure to wear gloves when handing and mince very, very fine for even distribution if you are making guacamole, or add just a tiny morsel to your blender if you are making salsa, taste and add more if its needed.