Tepin[ PURCHASE INFO ]
Tepin: Tepin peppers are considered by some to be the hottest peppers on the planet. Native to, and growing wild throughout North America, tepin peppers vary greatly in their heat content. Tepin can rank anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 on the Scoville scale. The tepin's heat is intense, but short lived. The fire passes quickly. Still, some folks rank these tiny chiles as hotter than habanero! Other comparable peppers include Red Sovina and Bhut Jolokia. Heatwise these little berries travel in some fierce company!
Tepin can sometimes be confused with pequin chiles. Tepin peppers are round with a short lived but intense heat, while pequin are oblong with a longer lasting but milder burn. Because both chiles are native to North America, very tiny, and a favorite of birds the confusion is understandable. But your mouth will know the difference! Use tepin peppers sparingly! Thought to be the oldest hot pepper, tepin peppers are one of the oldest chiles and are known as "the mother of all chiles". The word "tepin" is Aztec for "flea", tepins can be called "flea chiles", "bird chiles" and "mosquito chiles".
Spread across norther Mexico and the soutwest US by birds, tepin chiles are a favorite snack of wild birds. Birds don't feel the heat like mamals do, so tepins taste sweet to them. Lucky for us this fact keeps the tepin peppers grwoing wild across a large part of the US. Most tepin chiles are harvested from native plants. Attempts to tame the wild tepin have failed so far. In captivity tepin peppers grow too large, the fruit is half again as big as the wild picked peppers making them unpopular with consumers. They also attracted a host of diseases and pests. There is some concern that wild tepin peppers are being over harvested as some plants are being pulled whole rather than picked for fruit and left to grow again. This has brought about protection laws and protected habitats in several states.
Where to buy: Tepin