Chiltepin Chile Pepper Stats
Length: less than ½" diameter
Width: less than ½" diameter
Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum
Other Names: chilitepe or chili tepin
Scoville Range: 50,000 - 100,000
Chiltepin Chile Pepper Origin and History
The chiltepin pepper, which is also commonly spelled chili tepin pepper, originated in the southern portion of the United States, mainly in Texas, Arizona, and Florida. It grows wild throughout the south and also is common to the Bahamas, Mexico, Central America, and Columbia.
Chiltepin is considered the only wild chile plant in the United States and has a long history here. The peppers are even protected in Coronado National Forest, Big Bend National Park and Organpipe Cactus National Monument. It's sometimes known as the "Mother of All Peppers" and the name "Tepin" comes from a Nahuatl word that means "flea," because of its diminutive size.
The chiltepin pepper was the official pepper of the state of Texas and is now called "the official native pepper" since the jalapeno took its spot. These pepper plants are quite rugged and generally grow on hard rocky surfaces or steep slopes. This makes finding them and having access to them treacherous.
Chiltepin Chile Pepper Description
The chiltepin pepper is quite small, less than ½ inch in diameter. It is a round pepper with a slightly oval shape and is sometimes known by its informal name, the Bird's Eye pepper. This pepper is extremely hot and in Mexico it is often referred to as arrebatado, which alludes to the rapid and violent heat of the pepper which is intense but also short-lived.
Chiltepin peppers are very pungent but have a smoky flavor.
Chiltepin Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
To achieve the greatest potential of this pepper, it should be served whole, as the nature of its short-lived intensity would be diminished by cutting it open or cooking it. They are often pickled, added to cheeses, or fermented into sauces.
Chiltepin peppers can be dried and used whole as condiments, which is a common practice in Opatas, Sonorans, or Yaqui homes.
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