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Texas State Native Pepper

Chiltepin Capsicum annuum Adopted: June 18, 1997
Texas state native pepper
Texas State Native Pepper: Chiltepin
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Scoville heat units, a heat factor assigned to peppers, is measured in multiples of 100 units. Sweet bell peppers are assigned a value of 0 Scoville heat units.

It should be noted that the heat units produced by a particular variety can be greatly influenced by growing conditions, environment, water, and heat.

The Texas chiltepin registers 100,000 ~ 265,000 in Scoville heat units. In addition to being native to the State of Texas, it's also generally much hotter--about 20 times as hot--than the jalapeño (2,500 ~ 9,000), named the official state pepper in 1995.

When adopted back in 1995, the jalapeño was described as a "culinary, economic, and medical blessing to the citizens of the Lone Star State." This would seem a hard act to follow.

On the other hand, the chiltepin is simply described as an "endemic" natural resource, and an "integral part of our heritage;" faint praise, in our opinion, to that received by the jalapeño.

Perhaps being a native pepper that will serve as a global ambassador for the State of Texas... and being hotter than the jalapeño, is enough.

Read on...

H.C.R. No. 82

HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, The Lone Star State's reputation as a haven for lovers of hot and spicy food is well deserved, and the native chiltepin pepper has contributed greatly to this proud legacy; and

WHEREAS, A member of the genus Capsicum, the chiltepin grows wild in our temperate climate and is both undeniably American and typically Texan; its distinctive flavor makes it ideal for hearty stews and red hot Texas chili, and it is a staple in many Tex Mex favorites; and

WHEREAS, Even the mockingbird, our state bird, recognizes the appeal of this piquant pod, choosing to dine on it almost exclusively when the pepper is in season; wild turkeys, too, are often seen feeding on these tasty little morsels, and these and other fruit eating wild birds play a vital role in the chiltepin's proliferation; and

WHEREAS, Found in abundance from the southern United States to northern South America, the chiltepin has been used for many years by the various peoples who have populated our great state; known variously as chile mosquito and chile bravo, the Spanish described this zesty fruit as "arrebatado," meaning that although its spiciness is immediate and intense, this bold sensation does not linger long; and

WHEREAS, The chiltepin is used in both fresh and dried forms, combined with vinegar to make a tangy sauce or sprinkled into soup to provide just the right seasoning; perhaps the most amazing attribute of this indigenous spice is that it has been shown to increase the human metabolism by as much as 25 percent, making it a promising means of controlling weight gain; and

WHEREAS, The chiltepin's storied history even includes a footnote to one of our greatest American presidents, Thomas Jefferson; an avid gardener, President Jefferson acquired some of these exotic tiny peppers from a fellow horticulturist and displayed a keen interest in establishing a market for this Texas pepper; and

WHEREAS, It is important to acknowledge and promote our endemic natural resources, for they are an integral part of our heritage and help to make us recognizable to other cultures around the globe; the chiltepin is Texas' only native pepper, and its long history and wide variety of uses make it truly deserving of special recognition and endorsement; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 75th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby declare the chiltepin the official State Native Pepper of Texas.

The chiltepin became the official native pepper of Texas when Governor George W. Bush signed House Concurrent Resolution No. 82 on June 18, 1997.


Sources...

The State of Texas. Legislative Reference Library. House Concurrent Resolution No. 82. Austin: The State of Texas, 1997. Web. <http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=75R&Bill=HCR82>.
The State of Texas. Legislative Reference Library. House Concurrent Resolution No. 105. Austin: The State of Texas, 1995. Web. <http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=74R&Bill=HCR105>.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.


Additional Information

Eat more chiles

Chiltepin: EatMoreChiles.com.

Chiltepin: The Jalapeño Cafe.

Chiltepin Chili Peppers: Chili Pepper Madness.

State vegetables: Complete list of official state vegetables from NETSTATE.COM

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Texas state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.

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