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Chiltepin Bird Pepper

Fire up your taste buds with the American native Chiltepin pepper (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum) believed to be the wild ancestor of all sweet and hot peppers.

Native to North, Central and South America it is often called bird pepper. Many believe it promotes health and digestion and has been used to treat acid indigestion.

Bird pepper rates between 50,000 and 100,000 on the Scoville scale which is about 6 to 40 times hotter than a jalapeno.  The heat can vary and tends to be intense, but short lived.

The bright red fruit are small, round and slightly larger than a peppercorn. Fresh and dried bird peppers are available from online sources. Pop them in your mouth for a shot of heat or use fresh or dried peppers in salsa, sauces and spicy dishes.

If you like the flavor, try growing a few next year.

A bit more information: Chiltepin peppers can be challenging to start from seed. They have a tough seed coat that is softened when it passes through a bird’s digestive system. Some growers find soaking the seeds in a 10% bleach and water solution for 5 minutes before planting increases success. They have also found that bottom heat helps speed germination.

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