The Fresno chile is a rather young variety of chile. It was developed and released for commercial cultivation by Clarence Brown in 1952. Brown named the chile "Fresno" in honor of Fresno, California. Fresno chiles prefer warm to hot and dry climates with long sunny summer days and cool nights for optimal growing conditions. They are grown throughout California, specifically the San Joaquin Valley, which is considered the most productive agricultural region in the world.
The Fresno chile pepper is a perennial grown primarily as an annual. Fresno chiles are of the species, Capsicum annuum, a species native to South America. They are also the same species as Jalapenos, though a different cultivar, and often mistaken for Jalapenos.
Fresno chile peppers are considered a hot chile with a Scoville ranking between 2,500 to 8,000. Its flavor and heat is similar to that of a Jalapeno or a Serrano chile. Though the seeds are hot, the flesh's cross ribs and membrane contain the compound called capsaicinoid. This single compound is responsible for the chile's heat. As the seeds cling to the ribs and membrane they inherently absorb the heat of the capsaicinoid.
Fresno chile peppers pair well with salsas, relishes, cheeses, potatoes, seafood and meat. They can be added to ceviches and marinades, and used as a base for sauces such as romanesco and rojo cream sauces.
Fresno chiles have an incredible amount of nutritional and health benefits. Packed with Vitamins A and B, Fresno chiles have been shown to reduce blood cholesterol, triglyceride levels, prevent blood clots, control blood sugar/insulin levels after meals, possibly effectively preventing Type 2 Diabetes, and are essentially calorie free. Studies have shown they may prevent prostate cancer by actually convincing cancer cells to kill themselves through a process called apoptosis. Capsaicin, the compound behind the chili's heat, is an anti-inflammatory agent as well as a natural pain reliever.