Chile Pequin Season

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

This is the time of year when chile pequins turn up in Mexican markets and grocery stores. The tiny chile grows wild throughout southern Texas and northern Mexico. Because its seeds are spread by birds rather than cultivation, pequins are considered the oldest chiles in North America--all of the cultivated Capsicum annum varieties, from green peppers to jalapeños--descended from the wild chiles.

In northern Mexico, pequins are collected in the desert by wildcrafters--they fetch more than almost any other kind of chile because of their rarity. In Houston, you might find a pequin bush in your backyard or a vacant lot. Fifty years ago, every South Texan had a bottle of chile pequins in vinegar sitting on the table. The custom was to refill the vinegar as you used the pepper sauce. Then, in the fall, when there was a new batch of chile pequins available, you dumped your chiles and started over again.

Shaker Bottle Pequin Sauce 1/2 cup chile pequins 1/2 cup white vinegar Clean a previously used pepper shaker bottle with boiling water. Pack the bottle with chiles. Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until it steams slightly. Pour the hot vinegar over the chiles to the top of the jar. Allow the mixture to sit for a day before using. The bottle can be refilled with vinegar several times. Keep refrigerated between uses.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, 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 Houston 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 Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.