pepper heads for life

chilis de arbol shu

Scoville Heat Rating : 15,000-30,000 SHU

The de Arbol pepper is a variety of the hot chili pepper. This type of pepper originates from Mexico and remains popular in the western part of Mexico. De Arbol is Spanish; meaning, from a tree. It was given this name due to the similarity between the pepper plant and a tree.  The de Arbol pepper plant often grows to be up to four feet in height, with stick like stems. Full maturity of the pepper usually takes around one hundred days. This slender and long pointed pepper grows to be around two or three inches in length. It has a hot, bold, smoky taste and a rich deep color of red.


Creative Uses

The de Arbol pepper is one of the few hot chili pepper varieties that is used widely in the making of crafts. Craftsmen around the world go to extensive lengths to secure shipments of this fruit. Many cultures use the de Arbol as a spice to add a hot smoky flavor to many cuisines. Many Mexican meals would not be complete without the presence of this pepper. Stir-fries, sauces, salsas, soups, garnishes, and many oils are made in Mexico with the de Arbol. Some of the braver pepper lovers even deep fry this hot pepper.


The Heat Factor

The de Arbol has a rather low rating on the Scoville heat scale in comparison to many others. It still packs a rather great amount of pungency that will produce quiet a great amount of burning sensation when consumed. This sensation is actually produced by the chemical compound, Capsaicin, in the pepper. The ribs and the seeds of the pod contain the most of this compound; however, it is erratically spread throughout the entire inside of the fruit. After consumption, most will immediately feel the burning sensation. To alleviate this discomfort, individuals should drink milk. This tends to work well due to the high fat content. Milk can also be used to cleanse the skin of the burning sensation following contact. Baby shampoo and water have been suggested for use on the skin, as well. Water does not generally work well for the burning discomfort of the mouth, throat, or stomach. The capsaicin is not water soluble, but, it is fat soluble.

Photo credit: The Marmot / Foter / CC BY