|Scoville Scale||5,000 - 15,000 SHU|
Chipotles are jalapenos that are dried. Jalapeño varieties vary in size and heat. In Mexico, the jalapeño is also known as the cuaresmeño and gordo. Until recently, chipotles were largely found in the markets of central and southern Mexico.
Typically, a grower passes through a jalapeño field many times, picking the unripe, green jalapeños for market. At the end of the growing season, jalapeños naturally ripen and turn bright red. In Mexico and the United States, there is a market for ripe red jalapeños. They are kept on the bush as long as possible. When they are deep red and have lost much of their moisture, they are picked to be made into chipotles.
They are moved to a closed smoking chamber and spread on metal grills, but in recent years, producers have begun using large gas dryers. Wood is put in a firebox, and the smoke enters the sealed chamber. Every few hours the jalapeños are stirred to mix in the smoke. They're smoked for several days, until most of the moisture is removed. In the end, the chipotles are dry like prunes or raisins. The underlying heat of the jalapeños combines with the taste of smoke. Typically, ten pounds of jalapeños make one pound of chipotles after being thoroughly dried. A chipotle's heat is similar to that of the Espelette pepper, jalapeño, Guajillo chili, Hungarian wax pepper, Anaheim pepper, Poblano, Mulato pepper, and Tabasco sauce.