Single Packet of 100 Seeds
Whether you know them as poblano, ancho or mulato, these peppers are a colorful addition to your garden and a delicious one for your kitchen. Capsicum annuum is a member of the nightshade family, kissing cousin to tomatoes and eggplant. When they are still green and immature, they are known as poblano. As they mature and turn red, they are anchos, and, if you allow them to continue to the dark brown stage, they are mulato. At all stages, they have a mild, smoky flavor -- rated between 1000 and 1500 on the Scoville scale -- that is perfect for making chiles rellenos, chili powder or mole sauces. When spot-planted, they also add gorgeous splashes of color to the garden. Harvest in 75 to 80 days.
Plant Description and Growth Habits
Ancho plants have green stems and leaves, along with white flowers. The plants grow to about 24 to 30 inches tall and 2 feet wide. The peppers have firm, thick walls that make them perfect for stuffing, and they grow to about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.
If you plant ancho peppers in the spring, starting them indoors about 8 weeks before the last frost, they produce all summer, if you provide plenty of water and sunlight. If your area regularly has night-time temperatures below 60 degrees or above 75 degrees, or if your day-time temps soar over 90 degrees, consider growing anchos in pots that you can move to cooler spots during the day or warmer ones at night; otherwise, they may not set fruit as generously.
Pests and Diseases
For the most part, ancho peppers are pest-free. However, keep a watch for aphids, slugs, pill bugs and leafminers, all of which might munch on the plant's leaves. If your area has high humidity, the plants may be more susceptible to fungal diseases like leafspot.
Uses of Ancho Peppers
As mentioned, these peppers are perfect for chiles rellenos; simply stuff them with meat or cheese, dip them in an egg batter, and fry them until they are golden-brown. They are also delicious filled with cheese and baked without the batter. Puree them with a mole sauce for that touch of pepper flavor without excessive heat.
Extend the life of your anchos by drying them. You can use a home food dehydrator for this task, or pop them into the oven, on a cookie sheet, and bake them at 150 degrees for several hours, until they are thoroughly dry. You can also place them in the sun or even on a sunny windowsill for several days to dry them. Store the dried peppers in an air-tight container or grind them up for chili powder.