What’s a pasilla pepper? – Learn more about the cultivation of Pasilla peppers

Chili pasilla is a mainstay of Mexican cuisine. Popular both fresh and dried, pasilla peppers are very versatile and convenient to have in your garden. Read on to learn more about the Bajío Pasilla, including how to grow, harvest and use pasilla peppers in the kitchen.

Information about the Bajio de Pasilla

What’s a pasilla pepper? Also called pasilla bajio, the name of this chili in Spanish literally means “little grape”. This is a slightly misnomer, as chili is much larger than a raisin, usually reaching 6-9 cm (15-23 cm) in length and 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter. It is the colour of the pepper, which turns very dark brown when ripe, that gives the plant its name.

Pasillas can be harvested green and immature to make sauces and meat juices. They can also be harvested ripe and dry. It is in this form that they are used, along with ancho and guajillo peppers, to make the classic Mexican mole sauce.

As for chillies, pasillas are not particularly spicy. They have a Scoville rating of 1,000 to 2,500, which means they are less spicy than a mild jalapeño. As they ripen and become darker, they also become hotter. Most of them have a rich and pleasant, almost berry-like taste.

How to grow Pasilla peppers

The cultivation of Pasilla peppers is easy, and very similar to any other chilli pepper. The plants are not cold tolerant at all and should not be planted outdoors until all possibility of frost has passed. In frost-free climates they can live for years, but in colder climates they can be grown successfully as annuals.

They like full sun and rich, well-drained soil. They tend to grow up to 1.5 feet tall. If picked ripe, peppers can be eaten fresh or, more commonly, dried in a dehydrator, oven or other place with good air circulation.

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