Tepin Peppers are considered one of the hotter peppers on the planet. They grow wild throughout North America and can vary in their heat output. Just like every person is different – every pepper can be different. These peppers can rank anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 on the Scoville scale. The pepper starts off as very intense and hot, but doesn’t last all that long. Though some people say this little pepper is hotter than Habanero!
This little pepper is thought to be one of the oldest hot peppers known to man. These old chiles are known as “the mother of all chiles”. The word Tepin is an Aztec word for flea so these little peppers can be known as flea chiles, mosquito chiles and even bird chiles. The bird name comes from birds spreading the peppers all across North America and Mexico. They are a favorite snack for birds, unlike us, birds do not process this heat the same way that humans do, so Tepins will actually taste sweeter to them. The Tepin pepper is the only pepper that is native to the United States and is the state pepper of Texas.
Tepins tend to not do so well in captivity and grow better in the wild. When they are kept under a human eye they usually grow far too large. These peppers even have protection laws in most states to stop them from being over harvested so they do not go extinct. They grow on shrubs which are native to Texas and Arizona. They also grow on the border going to Mexico. They are hand picked and have less than 15 natural known habitats which makes it a pretty rare pepper. They are even protected in three different National Parks in the United States. Remember, if you decide to buy some of those peppers, use with cautions. They are smoking hot!
Tepin peppers are round and very small, most often sun-dried and used in some cream cheese and cheeses or used as a condiment like salt and pepper. The tiny peppers start off green when they are ripe but grow to be blazing red.
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