Chili pepper pods, which are berries, are used fresh or dried. Chiles are often dried to preserve them for long periods of time. Preserving may also be done by pickling fresh chilies.
Dried chilies are often ground to powders, although some Mexican dishes including variations on chiles rellenos may use whole reconstituted chilies, and others may reconstitute dried chilies before grinding to a paste. Chilies may be dried using smoke, such as the chipotle, which is the smoked, dried form of the jalapeno.
Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae.