Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bushcraft - Central Texas Style - Native Texas Peppers

There are several native edible plants that grow wild in central Texas. Texas is home to and part of the natural range of a wild chile pepper, Chile Pequín (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum). This is a small and very hot pepper that is the mother of the majority of our cultivated varieties and bears fruit almost all year long when winter temperatures are moderate. It is quite tasty and easy to find. Known affectionately as “bird peppers”, they come up most anywhere birds have deposited the seeds, especially mockingbirds which are the state bird of Texas. You can also find dried ones for sale in many ethnic Latin American grocery stores and markets.

The most common uses are in salsa, soups, vinegars, beans, and pickled. They are used mainly for a liquid hot pepper sauce. The green peppers are usually pickled in vinegar and the red ones are usually dried and crumbled for use as a seasoning.

The Pequín is the smallest of all chilies and is only about a third of an inch long and wide. Do not let its small size mislead you. They are extremely hot and have a Scoville Heat Unit rating of anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 heat units. They also have a very complex and nutty flavor which may account for their popularity with birds. Just two of these small peppers smashed in a bowl of beans will get the party started!

There was a time when every South Texan had a bottle of chile pequins in vinegar sitting on the dinner table. The usual custom was to add vinegar as you used the pepper sauce. Later, when a new crop of chile pequins were available, you got rid of the old chiles and made a fresh batch. They also make a great ornamental plant for your yard. They are extremely hardy plants and the peppers will add a splash of color to your yard.

Chile Pequín Liquid Sauce

Ingredients: (depending upon the size of your sauce bottle)

1/2 cup chile pequins

1/2 cup white vinegar


Clean a previously used pepper sauce bottle with boiling water. Pack the chilies tightly in the bottle. Make sure they have been thoroughly rinsed and cleaned.

The next step is to heat some vinegar in a small pan over low heat until it just begins to steam. Pour your hot vinegar over the chiles to the top of the jar.

Allow the mixture to sit for at least a day before using. The bottle can be refilled with vinegar several times.

You can get additional information here:

Staying above the water line!



HermitJim said...

These little guys are inded hot! One of the hottest that I've ever bottled at home!

Sure are good with a bowl of beans!

riverwalker said...

To: HermitJim

I've got quite a few of these growing in my yard and they are also found quite easily in the wild since they are a plant that is native to Texas.

Just biting into one of these little peppers will wake you up in a hurry!

Thanks Jim.


Anonymous said...

We have a coupla chile pequin bushes growing on our property, propogated by birds most likely, just like you said. Yup, quite a kick those little guys have. One of my earliest memories as a kidlet was eating one from a bush in our backyard allety and trying to suck water from an outside hose bibb. Funny now but I don't recall seeing the humor back then.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:37

It's amazing that some of the things we did when we were younger didn't get us into a lot more you remembered that pepper for a long time!lol

Thanks anon.


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