The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called ancho or ancho chile, from the Spanish name ancho ("wide") or chile ancho ("wide chile"). The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano. While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably, they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity. A closely related variety is the Mulato pepper, which is darker in color, sweeter in flavor, and softer in texture.
One of the most popular peppers grown in Mexico, the bush (of the species Capsicum annuum) has multiple stems and can reach 25 inches in height. The fruit is three to six inches long and two to three inches wide. An immature poblano is dark purplish green in color, but the mature fruits eventually turn a red so dark as to be nearly black.
Poblanos grow in Hardiness zones 10–12 and do best with a soil pH between 7.0 and 8.5. They typically prefer full sunlight and may require additional support for the growing fruits during harvest in late summer. A poblano takes around 200 days from seed to harvest and requires soil temperatures of at least 64°F to germinate.
Preparation methods include: dried, coated in whipped egg (capeado) and fried, stuffed, or in mole sauces. It is particularly popular during the Mexican independence festivities as part of a dish called chiles en nogada, which incorporates green, white, and red ingredients corresponding to the colors of the Mexican flag. This may be considered one of Mexico's most symbolic dishes by its nationals. It is also usually used in the widely found dish chile relleno. Poblanos are popular in the United States and can be found in grocery stores in the states bordering Mexico and in urban areas.
After being roasted and peeled (which improves the texture by removing the waxy skin), poblano peppers are preserved by either canning or freezing. Storing them in airtight containers keeps them for several months. When dried, the poblano becomes a broad, flat, heart-shaped pod; from this form, it is often ground into a powder used as flavoring in various dishes.
"Poblano" is also the word for an inhabitant of Puebla, and mole poblano refers to the spicy chocolate chili sauce originating in Puebla.