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Smoked, dried, fresh, canned, pickled—spicy chile peppers are found in a number of formats, with differing effects on their flavor and potency. Capsaicin, the heat element, is gaining some clout as a healthy diet booster. From the simple jalapeño to some competition-level tongue destroyers, check out these spicy chile peppers and a few ways to interchange them.
Swapping peppers in recipes is a simple way to bring new life to an old dish or add a little signature color. This short list of sweet peppers provides a quick glance at some common varieties and how to use them.
The Scoville Scale is used to measure the pungency (spicy heat) of chile peppers and any product made from them that sets your tongue a-tingle. Named for its developer, Wilbur Scoville, the test has changed since it was first used in 1912, but spicy foods are still reported in Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). There’s just less madness in the method.