- In Depth
Name: Árbol, Chili de Árbol, birds peak
Harvest: Oct - Nov
Character: Grassy, nutty, with spicy but eatable heat
Scoville: 15,000 - 30,000
Pair with: Olive oil, salsas, lemonades, spice rubs, hot sauces
Chile de Árbol is thin, long, pointy chili with a taste that you will remember. The name translates to “chili of the tree” with its twig like appearance. The potent, quick heat is on the spicer side with scoville between 15-30,000 units which makes it a versatile ingredient as you the heat is quite eatable.
It is related to the Cayenne chili but has less heat and a more distinct taste profile with tasty, nutty almost smokey flavors and grassy undertones. It works great in chili sauces or as a chili powder but also whole in olive oil or to flavor food.
Wipe clean, toast and deseed the chili before use if you are not applying it whole.
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First of all dry clean and cut of the stems of your arbol chilis if you are not using them whole. Deseed the fruit for better taste and less spice. Heat will help these chilis come back to life and develop that complex flavor so toast your chilis. Either in the oven at 200c for 1-2 minutes or 20-30 seconds in a hot pan on both sides.
From here you can either chop or grind the chilis if you want to use it in powdered form. If you with to puree the chili we recommend to cover the chilis in hot tap water and let them soak for 30 minutes. When this is done you can easily add them to sauces, salsa, moles or stews. The excess water can also be used but try it first and see how it fits your palate.
This chili is perfect in sauces, marinades and salsas. They are great as chili flakes or as a powder. The slim size makes them perfect for infusing oils, dressings, liquor and beverages like lemonades and margaritas.
All chili is native to Central and South America and research suggest that cultivation of this plant is over 8000 years old (Aji Amarillo in Peru). The Inca, Mayan, Aztec and other ancient cultures all cultivated chilis from wild species that then made their way all over the world via the Spanish.