Serrano Chile Pepper Stats
Length: 2 ¼"
Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum
Other Names: chili seco
Scoville Range: 10,000 - 25,000
Serrano Chile Pepper Origin and History
The serrano pepper originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Hidalgo and Puebla. The name "serrano" refers to the mountains ("sierras") of these regions.
The Mexican states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Nayarit, and Sinaloa are the major producers of serrano chiles.
Serrano Chile Pepper Description
Serrano peppers may be the hottest chile that is commonly available in the U.S. They are sold in specialty markets and most grocery stores.
Serrano pepper plants are 1 ½ to 5 feet tall with up to 50 hanging pods per plant. Shaped like elongated cylinders or candle flames, serrano chiles have a blunt end, thin walls, and thick flesh. The unripe peppers are green while mature colors vary, including green, red, brown, orange, and yellow. The savory and spicy flavor is crisp, full-bodied, and biting. While they look similar to the jalapeno, serranos are smaller and much hotter but with a less harsh bite.
Fresh serrano peppers have smooth, firm skin with solid coloring and medium-thick flesh. Peppers with soft, bruised, or wrinkled skin are past their prime.
Serrano Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
Serrano chiles add bold, uncomplicated heat to recipes. They are used in salsas and sauces and are eaten raw.
Preparation of serrano chiles starts with gently scrubbing the skin to remove any pesticide residues. The next step is to slice off the top and remove the stem. The peppers can be sliced in half lengthwise to remove the seeds using a sharp knife.
Serrano chiles are typically eaten raw in southwestern and Mexican cuisine. They are used in making pico de gallo, which is a fresh, uncooked salsa made from chopped tomato, onion and chiles. Because of their fleshy walls they do not need to be steamed or peeled before using, but some salsa recipes call for roasting them. Serrano peppers can also be pickled, creating a dish called sport peppers. Some pepper aficionados consider serranos too meaty to dry well, while others report sprinkling dried serrano chiles on top of a margarita for a unique and fiery drink.
Smoking dried serrano chiles deepens the flavor. The dried peppers can be ground into chili powder or reconstituted before using. To reconstitute the dried peppers, soak them in boiling water for 15 minutes.
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