New Mexico chile

New Mexico chile

noun | encyclopedia/cuisine
Pronounced: \chil-ee, chee-lay\
IPA: /ˈtʃɪl i, ˈtʃi lɛ/

Definition of New Mexico chile

Depiction of New Mexico chile, by Heaven Sent Gaming
Depiction of New Mexico chile, by Heaven Sent Gaming

Capsicum annuum L. ‘New Mexico chile’ group Cultivar of the shrub that produces perennial peppers (capsicum), native to the Americas. The edible fruit of New Mexico chile is a many-seeded, savory and lightly-pungent, long berry; which usually is green and matures to red. The New Mexico chile cultivar grows best along the Rio Grande, the Rio Grande Bosque, and in inland with New Mexico’s unique “landrace” chile.

Cultural significance of the New Mexico chile within New Mexico

The New Mexico chile is not only important in New Mexico from a culinary aspect, as an essential part of New Mexican cuisine, but also as an economic value as a cash crop; and an even larger cultural value with family recipes, artistic depictions decorative arrangement of drying chile ristras, and deep symbolism of being sacred among the Acoma -to- being a respected state icon. As such, it is a primary part of New Mexican cuisine, and a part of the much more capacious Mexican cuisine and Southwestern American cuisine. Since the fruit is savory and not sweet, it is referred to as a vegetable, and is the New Mexico state vegetable. The New Mexico state question, “Red or Green?,” references a common question at restaurants which refers to the choice of green chile or the matured red chile. Requesting the combination of red and green chile, is referred to as “Christmas”.

Examples of New Mexico chile

Origin of New Mexico chile

There are multiple varieties of the New Mexico chile pepper, and each of them has a history of its own. The oldest forms of which can trace their lineage back 400+ years, to the Pueblo modern culture and the Spanish modern culture. However the modern New Mexico chile owes its roots to, being mixture of many of those Pueblo and Spanish peppers, being mixed by early horticulturalist Dr. Fabian Garcia. Most of the New Mexico chile peppers mature from green to red unless otherwise stated by the breeder. The most popular varieties are the 6-4, No. 6, No. 9, Anaheim, and Big Jim. The old Pueblo and Spanish town peppers often offer up a piquancy much different than the popular varieties, however their are the “Heritage” varieties of Heritage 6-4 and Heritage Big Jim which attempt to reclaim those variety’s piquancy.


Family solanaceae; genus capsicum; species c. annuum; sub-cultivars anaheim, 6-4, sandia, big jim, española, zia pueblo,isleta pueblo, and others.
Alternate spellings exist; chile, green chile, red chile, numex pepper, chile Nuevo Méxicano.
First Known Use: 16th century as chile de nuevo mexico


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