Piquin or "pequin" is derived from the Spanish pequeño which means small. The wild form of this pepper is referred to as "chiltepin" or "bird pepper" as birds will eat them and then scatter their seeds.

It is small in size but packs a terrible punch. The average chitepin weighs in around 70,000 Scoville Units. In Mexico the heat of the chiltepin is called arrebatado meaning rapid or violent. Interesting the heat although rapid and intense also quickly diminishes, unlike other hot peppers such as Habaneros which seem to just keep on giving.

There is lots of legend and folklore surrounding this pepper. The Tarahumara indians believe that chiltepins provide protection against the evils of sorcery. In fact, if someone does not eat chiltepins they are suspected of being a sorcerer. The Papago indians of Arizona maintain that the chiltepin has been with them since the dawn of creation.

Medical applications are numerous. In Mexico they are used to treat acid indigestion, sore throats, and rheumatism.

Texans are fond of this little wild child. They often eat them right of the bush and use them in a variety of dishes.

BTW all varieties of the Piquin grow well as perennials in pots in the home, making them readily available for a chiltepin rush when needed.

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