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Texas Chiltepin Pepper

Ever since 1997, the chiltepin has been officially recognized as the state’s official native pepper. The Texas Chiltepin, commonly referred to as the mother of all peppers due to the fact that it is thought to have been the oldest species of the Capsicum genus plant of peppers, typically grows in between southern Arizona and west Texas.

User Experience

The peppers are categorized as being extremely hot and has a rating of 50,000 to 100,000 Scovile units. What makes the Chitlepin unique however, is the fact that despite its intensity of hotness, the heat typically dissipates relatively quickly in comparison to other peppers

Origin Of Its Name

The pepper is also known as “Chiltecpin” and “Tepin” which is the Mexican word for flea. The name Chiltecpin is though to have been derived from the Aztec language(Nahutl. It is also believed that the word was eventually altered by the Spanish to chiltecpin and then altered again to the name chiltepin, and then finally Anglicized to chillipiquin, which is the name of the plant that grows in Texas.

Historical Use

One of the interesting aspects of this plant, is its history. The Texas Chiltepin has a long history with the Mexico/US borderlands for as far back as the early 1800s. Back in those early days, it was traditionally used as a mythic icon, medicine, food and as a vermifuge.

The pepper was also associated with a wide variety of traditional folkore as well. In Mexico back in the 1800s, one of the most common phrases that many people used were that “no kitchen of Opatas, Oódham’ Sonorans or Yaquir homes, could be complete without a package of dried chiltepines on standby.”

The pepper was so popular back in the 1800s in Mexico that it influenced a wild harvest seasonal ritual that continues to this day. During the wild harvest seasonal ritual, many rural communities in Mexico, create chile-harvesting camps high up in the mountains, during the months of September and October, as to which they harvest the wild peppers.

The historic popularity of the Texas Chiltepin weren’t just limited to Mexico alone. Back in the early 1800s, President Jefferson was known for being an avid gardener that acquired a variety of these tiny, exotic peppers and demonstrated a keen interest in establishing a market for the pepper due to the fact that he believed that it was important for the US to recognize and promote all our endemic natural resources because they are a part of our heritage.

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