Hatch Lumbre Chile Peppers
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Lumbre hatch chile peppers are elongated, slender, and straight to curved pods, averaging 10 to 17 centimeters in length and 2 to 4 centimeters in diameter, and have a conical shape that tapers to a rounded tip. The skin is smooth and waxy, ripening from green to bright red when mature. Underneath the skin, the semi-thick flesh is crisp, aqueous, and light green to pale red-orange, depending on maturity and encases a central cavity filled with thin membranes and round and flat, cream-colored seeds. Lumbre hatch chile peppers have a grassy, semi-sweet, and earthy flavor mixed with a moderate to hot level of spice.
Lumbre hatch chile peppers are available for a short season in the late summer through early fall.
Lumbre hatch chile peppers, botanically classified as Capsicum annuum, are a spicy variety of the well-known hatch pepper and belong to the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Named after the famous chile growing region of Hatch Valley in New Mexico, Lumbre hatch chile peppers were developed by second and third generation Hatch chile pepper growers to create a variety with more spice. The peppers were named Lumbre, which is Spanish for fire, and Lumbre chile peppers range 9,000 to 10,000 SHU on the Scoville scale, which is much hotter than the traditional hatch chile pepper. Lumbre hatch chile peppers are also marketed under the names Hatch Extra-Hot, Lumbre X-Hot, and Hatch Double X Hot and can be used as a spicy substitute in any recipe calling for traditional hatch chile peppers.
Lumbre hatch chile peppers are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and are a good source of fiber, vitamins B6 and K, manganese, potassium, copper, and omega-6 fatty acids. The peppers also contain smaller amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, vitamins E, B2 and B3, and zinc. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Lumbre hatch chile peppers contain high levels of capsaicin, which is a chemical compound that triggers the brain to feel spice or heat and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.
Lumbre hatch chile peppers are edible when raw, but due to their thick skin, they are more commonly used in cooked applications such as roasting or grilling. The peppers can be chopped into salsa or blended into sauces, marinades, and dips. Lumbre hatch chile peppers can also be incorporated into egg dishes, tossed into soups, chilis, and stews, wrapped in bacon and grilled, or cooked into enchiladas and tamales. In New Mexico, like the milder hatch chile peppers, Lumbre hatch chiles can be fire-roasted in cages or on grills and served alone or alongside dishes with Latin and Southwestern flavors, or they can be infused into tequila-based drinks. Lumbre hatch chile peppers can also be dried, ground into a powder, and used as a spice, baked into cookies and bread, or blended into ice cream. Lumbre hatch chile peppers pair well with nuts such as almonds or pine nuts, feta cheese, crème fraiche, mango, avocado, tomatoes, garlic, onions, Mexican oregano, rice, beans, and grilled meats. The fresh peppers will keep 1-2 weeks when loosely stored whole and unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Chile peppers are recognized as New Mexico’s state vegetable along with pinto beans as the pairing is regarded as inseparable among locals. Peppers have been a part of the lifeblood of New Mexican agriculture for many years, and due to the global success of the hatch chile, many out of state and out of country growers are labeling their peppers as genuine Hatch chiles to take advantage of the pepper’s popularity. To protect the unique flavor profile of the hatch chile grown in the Hatch Valley, New Mexico, a group of farmers organized the Hatch Chile Association to lobby for protected rights over the variety. In 2016 they won the right to not only recognize the area as a protected geographical location like Napa for grapes or Idaho for potatoes, but they also received the guarantee that only peppers with the hatch name are grown in the Hatch Valley. Any chiles grown outside of the valley would have to be referred to as New Mexico chiles.
Lumbre hatch chile peppers were developed in New Mexico by farther and son hatch chile growers, Jimmy and Faron Lytle. Coming from a line of breeders, the Lytles desired a spicier hatch variety and developed the pepper over a period of nine years. The spicy peppers were released in 2011, after proving their stability in trials. Today fresh Lumbre hatch chile peppers are grown in the Hatch Valley and are available through local growers and select online retailers for home garden use.
Recipes that include Hatch Lumbre Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Rebooted Mom||Cheesy Hatch Green Chile Cornbread|
|Life Made Simple||Chicken and Hatch Chile Stew|
|Cotter Crunch||Hatch Green Chile Tomato Egg Casserole|
|Cheery Kitchen||Green Chile Sauce|