I'm going to start all over again next year in regards to planting NM chile, although I will keep my Chichimeca jalapenos. I'm going to try planting just one type of NM chile, NuMex Heritage 6-4. I recently bought the seeds from the Chile Pepper Institute. Here's a little information about this place.
The Chile Pepper Institute (CPI) is a research-based, international nonprofit organization devoted to education, research, and archiving information related to Capsicum. We are dedicated to educating the world about the wonders of chile peppers.
Research done by New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute has helped promote New Mexico's iconic state vegetable. Now, the CPI (and its chile peppers) is on the map, literally, as a "must-see" destination in Rand McNally's 2010 Road Atlas "Best of the Road" program.
Our research can be hot and cool at the same time. Paul Bosland, co-founder and director of the CPI, was responsible for finding the world's hottest chile pepper, the Bhut Jolokia. In the fall of 2006, the Guinness Book of Records confirmed Bosland's discovery. Discoveries like these are not rare for the Chile Pepper Institute. The record-holder for the world's largest chile pepper is a specimen of the 'NuMex Big Jim' variety that was developed in at NMSU in 1976. And recently, the release of NuMex Heritage 6-4, provides a chile pepper with 5X the flavor of the standard green chile.
About the NuMex Heritage 6-4 and the NuMex Heritage Big Jim.
In 2002, they obtained the original seed of both varieties, frozen in liquid nitrogen, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Seed Storage Lab in Fort Collins, Colo. From there, the researchers worked to create breeding lines for new varieties that would capture the original flavor of the chilies while making improvements to help farmers stay competitive.
"Now, both varieties have much more flavor compounds, better yield and better plant habits. With these new guys, when you roast them the smell is much stronger and the chile flavor is so much more intense. My mouth is watering just talking about them," said Danise Coon, the Chile Pepper Institute's program coordinator.
Coon said characteristics of the new varieties include high yield, uniform heat level, easy de-stemming and traditional flavor.
The researchers also used mass spectrometry laboratory testing, which detects flavor compounds, to determine if they hit the mark for improved flavor.
Bosland said the team discovered that people were trying to steal the chile from test fields near the university.
"They're so good people are stealing them. We're pretty excited," Bosland said with a chuckle.
The chile was then grown by Biad Chili Ltd. Co. in Mesilla Park, where it was guarded and seeds were collected.
For the future, Bosland and his team is looking at improving the Sandia variety from original seed for release in about two years.
As for the new heritage varieties, Bosland said their new identities can help New Mexico's chile industry continue to tout its quality.
"The chile and that flavor is our connection to the earth. Having good tasting food is very important, and consumers are moving back toward more flavorful food," Bosland said.