By Kelly Bogard

Some like it hot. Others like it hotter. And some adventuresome people like it as hot as they can get it. Peppers are quite popular in the Lone Star State. Partly due to their unique flavors and partly because most of our local cuisines incorporate a Mexican flair, heavy on spices.

As a born and bred Texan, I can attest that there are very few foods that I make or eat that don’t involve peppers in one way or another. In honor of Hot and Spicy Food Day, I thought you might enjoy learning a little bit more about some of the peppers used here in Texas.

No. 1–Poblano (Ancho) Chilies–This is a very mild pepper. It’s great for use when you want to add smoky pepper flavor without too much heat. They can be used alongside, or instead of, bell peppers in many recipes. They would be a great replacement for the bell peppers in this stuffed peppers recipe.

No. 2–Jalapeño Peppers–This is by far the most common pepper in Tex-Mex cooking. You can adjust the heat of the peppers by removing the seeds and ribs to cool things down a bit. Just like we did in this soup.

No. 3–Serrano Peppers–We are moving right up the heat scale here. This little green guy packs a mean punch. A little goes a long way with these. I have a friend who adds half of one to her Texas Caviar.

No. 4–Cayenne Peppers–Most commonly used as a dried pepper, they make ground cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes with them. It adds just the right amount of spice to my Dr Pepper Brisket.

No. 5–Habañero Peppers–This is the hottest pepper I will touch and, to be honest, it’s too hot for me. My husband loves them, though, so I do occasionally make him a separate batch of salsa with one.

From mild to wild, every pepper is perfect for most any dish. So get out there and pick a bunch of peppers to try. Be sure to let me know if you find a new recipe I can share with them, too. From all of us at Texas Table Top, enjoy!