4

The "Mother of All Peppers" Might Be Growing in Your Yard

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Have you seen these peppers in bushes outside? The tiny tepin or chiltepin is the only wild chili native to the U.S. and is believed to be the oldest and hottest species of wild pepper.

I first saw it in Tarpon River at a friend's house, a spindly shrub my friend had fenced off for protection. When he bought his house, Tom knew the peppers when he saw them, since his father grew them in his childhood home near Sarasota. "What are you doing with this poor bush?" I asked him. "It looks like it's too late for this one." I was wrong.

Though the leaves were spindly and sad, the bush bore hundreds of tiny

peppers that look like shriveled holly berries. According to Slow Food, the wild harvest of these peppers "is a

seasonal ritual in many rural communities to this

day, where families make chili-harvesting camps in the mountains during

the heat of September and early October in order to harvest the wild

peppers."  Here, they're year-round.

These tiny peppers pack a ton of heat, clocking in at 50,000 to 100,000

on the Scoville Scale, about on par with a Thai bird pepper, though less hot

than scotch bonnets and ghost peppers.

Have you seen them around? What do you do with them, aside from pop them in your mouth as a very spicy snack?


New Times on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook | Melissa on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter | Melissa McCart on Twitter | E-mail Melissa |





Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.