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Apache Chile Peppers; What Are They, Exactly?


My daughter just gave me some Apache chiles she bought at a farmers market. A whole quart-sized zip-top bag, priced at $1.50. That part’s certainly attractive! The bag’s fairly full of small, red chiles, like the picture above. I’d never seen these peppers up close and personal, so to speak. They look deadly hot enticing. The objective is a pepper jelly, I think; although I’ll try some on some tacos too.

But what are they?

They’re clearly a cultivar of capsicum annuum, the common chile. Apaches are a dwarf variety, good in pots and small gardens. There are two recognized varieties of Apache, apparently. Sometimes the fruit are yellow, and they can be eaten green like a Serrano or jalapeño. The plants don’t get large; only about 18 inches tall. They don’t grow fast either, although they will produce a lot of inch-long (or slightly longer), tasty peppers over time. (The fruit hang down on an Apache plant; other ornamental chiles may stick up in clusters.) Get the conditions and watering right and you can have chile peppers all year round, from a pot right in your kitchen.

How hot are Apache peppers? I’ve seen reports of anywhere from 5,000 Scoville Units to 80,000. To put that into perspective, a jalapeño pepper is about 5,000 at best, with the Serrano about 20,000 Scoville. The chiltepin chile weighs in around 80,000, with the infamous Habañero slightly hotter.

So either I’ve got a straightforward pepper jelly in the works, or flamethrower fuel; only time (and the tasting) will tell…

Hang On; Going to (Pepper Jelly) Afterburners Now…


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