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Pequin (or Piquin) pepper (pronunciation: pee/puh-KEEN) is a hot chile pepper, also known as “bird pepper”, that is commonly used as a spice.

Pequin has a compact habit growing typically 0.3 – 0.6 meters tall, with bright green, ovate leaves and small fruits that rarely exceed 2 cm in length. Like most chiles, fruits start out green, ripening to brilliant red at maturity. Pequin peppers are very hot, often 13-40 times hotter than jalapeños on the Scoville scale (100,000-140,000 units). Flavor is described as citrusy, smoky (if dried with wood smoke), and nutty.[1]

Other common names (and possible misnomers) of this plant are pinhead pepper, chile petin, chile pequin, piquin, chile del monte and chile mosquito. They may also be confused with the chiltepin, which is a variety with very similar foliage, form and growth habit but with much rounder peppers.

Common uses include pickling, salsas and sauces, soups, and vinegars. The popular Cholula brand hot sauce lists piquin peppers and arbol peppers among its ingredients.[2]



Chile del monte variety is commonly found in northeast Mexico and south Texas along the Rio Grande Basin. This pepper has a unique trait in that it will not turn black with humidity or long periods of rest. Another of its qualities is that it will not produce irritation to the gastric system when consumed in moderation. Its hotness level is lower than other varieties yet it is richer in flavor. This pepper is round and easily confused with other varieties that grow in the area. One of its peculiarities is that the plant is very delicate to handle and if manipulated has a high chance of not surviving. This is a seasonal pepper depending on rainfall. When successfully transplanted and cared for the pepper will morph in the first couple of months to a sweet yet spicy flavor. After three or four life cycles the plant will produce sweet peppers with seldom exceptions of hot examples.

Written on February 29th, 2012 , Botany, Vegetables Tags:

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