Chiltepin Chili Peppers
SCOVILLE HEAT UNITS: 50,000 to 100,000 SHU
The Chiltepin, or Chiltepine, is a tiny, round or oval shaped, red to orange-red chile, measuring about .8cm in diameter. It has grown in the wild throughout much of Northern Mexico and Southern Texas for generations, and there is much folklore and history involving the plant in the US/Mexico Borderland areas. Efforts to grow the wild plants on farms have led to the development of the Chile Piquin which is grown commercially in Mexico and Texas.
The Chiltepin is very hot, and in Mexico, the heat of the pepper is considered “arrebatado” which means “rapid” or “violent” because the intense heat is not long lasting, unlike many chile peppers that have a slower and more enduring effect.
Texas named the Chiltepin the state’s “official native pepper” in 1997. They are also called “bird peppers” because they are eaten and spread by wild birds.
Chiltepin may be dried and crushed, and used in soups, stews and bean dishes. It has a distinctively smoky flavor. The green fruit can also be used in salsas.