Pequin Chile Pepper Stats
Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum
Other Names: chile petin, chile piquin, bird pepper, turkey pepper, cayenne pepper, chile de monte,
Scoville Range: 100,000 - 400,000
Pequin Chile Pepper Origin and History
Anthropologists have traced the chile pequin back 7,000 years to Bolivia and Brazil. Some believe it to be the original wild pepper, the mother of all peppers. It is still found in the wild in South America, Latin America, and the southern United States, most notably south Texas. Chile pequin grows under cultivation in Texas and Mexico. Birds generously spread the seeds.
Pequin Chile Pepper Description
The tiniest of chiles ("pequin" means "small"), the chile pequin is round or oval, changing from green to brilliant red or reddish orange as it matures, eventually turning brown. Chile pequin grows on compact plants that are 1 to 3 feet tall. The complex flavor of this extremely hot chile is at once citrusy, smoky, sweet, and nutty.
Depending on the climate and growing conditions, chile pequins may ripen throughout the year. Harvesting is by hand without damaging the plant or by cutting down branches and then removing the fruit. Commercially grown plants may produce as much as two pounds of chiles per plant.
Pequin Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
While many different dishes and cuisines use chile pequin, it is particularly common in Mexican and Southeast Asian cooking. The green fruits may be pickled or added fresh to salsa, while the red ones are dried. Drying makes the chiles last longer and gives them a more focused flavor. Fresh chiles stay fresh for about one week in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Dried pequin chiles will remain potent for at least a year if stored in an air-tight container in a dark, cool location.
The most common use of pequin chiles is in liquid hot pepper seasoning. Cooks use pequins in soups, vinegars, salsas, and salads. With capers and garlic they go well with fish. Dried chile pequins are mixed with lemon and salt and sprinkled on mangoes or pineapple.
Rehydrated dried pequin chiles are added to soups and sauces. Alternatively, the dried chiles can be toasted slightly and added to dishes without rehydrating. Dried chile pequins can also be ground into chili powder.
Two or three crushed tiny peppers are enough to heat up a whole pot of soup or a bowl of beans. Small but powerful, this pepper has a fiery taste that is well suited to ultra spicy dishes.
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