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Posted - 25 Apr 2012
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New to the Produce Department: Dried Chiles in Bulk

    In addition to our rack of assorted whole and ground dried chiles in packages, we now carry selected dried chiles in bulk.




    When fresh, it is known as a Mirasol chile. Heat rating: 2,500 to 5,000 SHU*.  Uses: sauces, salsa.  The skin is tough, so it needs to be soaked longer than other chiles.




000060.png    A smoked jalapeño.  Heat rating: 3,000 to 10,000 SHU*.  Uses: stews, braised meats.



    Chile de Árbol

000061.png    Same name fresh or dry.  Heat rating: 30,000 to 60,000 SHU*.  Uses: wreaths (they keep their bright red color when dried), soups and stews.


    So, what makes a hot pepper hot?  The chemical compound capsaicin, found in the membranes and around (but not in) the seeds of the chile, causes a reaction with the same nerve endings in the mouth that react to burning and abrasion.  So your brain registers capsaicin, not via the taste buds, but through the pain sensors.


*SHU (Scoville Heat Units) are the measure of a chile’s pungency.  For reference, a bell pepper has 0 SHU, a fresh jalapeño has between 3,500 and 8,000 SHU, and a habanero has 250,000 to 300,000 SHU.  An Indian ghost pepper (bhut jolokia) may have a rating of 1 million.  The current heat champion is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chile, with over 2 million SHU, the equivalent of pepper spray.

Images by Jim McKay

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Dave Clark
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You may have seen our produce truck – if you're out early in the morning.  Dave is our produce buyer and department supervisor for both stores.

Dave is one of our original employees-one of our first hires at our inception in 1985! 

He buys direct from the San Francisco produce market and from local growers when in season, including organic farmers.

You can be assured, if the produce isn't the best, Dave won't bring it "home" to Sonoma Market and Glen Ellen Village Market!