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Adapted from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter of July 13, 2007
issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve,
QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO

EGGS WITH CHILI PEQUÍN

One reason I was tickled with Pancho's invitation to visit his mountain rancho is that Pancho's wife, Aurora, makes the best-tasting hotsauce I've ever eaten. Sunday I wasn't disappointed, either, for the scrambled eggs arrived swimming in it.

I think one of Aurora's secrets is that instead of using the usual jalapeño or habenero peppers, in her stone metate she grinds the tiny pepper called chili pequín (peh-KEEN). Chili pequines are graced with a rich smoky/citrus/nutty flavor, and they're much hotter than jalapeños.

You can see several dried Chili Pequines in my hand below:

CHILI PEQUÍN

That picture shows that chili pequines are tiny. Taxonomically they're CAPSICUM ANNUM var GLABRIUSCULUM. Green and red peppers belong to the genus Capsicum, and they're divided into a few species:

  • Capsicum annuum -- jalapeños, cayenne, paprika, bell
  • Capsicum chinense -- habaneros
  • Capsicum frutescens -- tabasco
  • Capsicum pubescens -- rocoto

Since jalapeños and bell peppers belong to the same species, when they're planted together in a garden they can mix -- which you know if you've ever planted sweet bell peppers next to jalapeños, and ended up with very hot bell peppers.

Above I said that Chili Pequines are hotter than jalapeños. On the "Chili Pepper Hotness Scale" page at http://info-s.com/chart6.html we see that pepper hotness can be rated according to "Scoville Units." Here's how various peppers rate:

  • SWEET BELL PEPPERS..... 0 Scoville Units
  • JALAPEÑOS.............. 2,500-5,000
  • CAYENNE................ 30,000-55,000
  • CHILI PEQUÍN........... 70,000-100,000
  • HABENERO............... 225,000-550,000

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