Pequin[ PURCHASE INFO ]
Pequin: Pequin peppers, or chile pequin as they are also commonly known, are tiny, brilliantly red chile peppers that grow wild in Mexico. Almost 10 times hotter than a jalapeno, the tiny pequin swings a huge heat hammer. Chile pequin rank 40,000 to 60,000 on the Scoville scale or 9-10 on the heat scale! Sometimes confused with chiltepin, chile pequin are slightly larger, more oblong and less round. The name roughly translates to "tiny chile", they average 1/4" wide and 1/2" long. Because birds don't feel the effects of capsaicins like mammals do these tiny chiles are a favorite of many bird species. Nicknamed "bird chiles", pequin have a complex and fruity flavor beneath the heat that the little birdies must love.
Chile Pequin, like most chiles, are green when immature, ripen to a bright red color, and then turn brown. The green pequin chiles are usually sold fresh, and the ripened chiles are usually dried. Dried chiles have a longer shelf life and a more focused flavor. Chile pequin is a close relative of jalapeno and bell peppers. The seeds and ribs contain most of the capsaicin if you want to sweeten them, or concentrate the heat... Popular in salsas, hot sauces, vinegars and oils, a couple of these tiny chiles dropped into a pot of soup will give it a nice warmth if you're feeling chilled.
The term "pequin chiles" is also used to describe the long red chiles used in ristras. Obviously not chile pequin, these beautiful, long, red chiles can be any number of varieties and heats. The true chile pequin is too small to be of any use in a wreath or ristra, and the word pequin means "small", but the alternative usage seems to have become popular in spite of the issues. Don't be fooled, if you want chile pequin they will be about the size of green peas.
Where to buy: Pequin