Manzano Chile: Origin, Flavor, Heat Level, Uses, Storage

manzano chile

Chile Manzano, also known as Chile Peron, is a rare pepper from Mexico. The name “Manzano” comes from the Spanish word “manzana” which means “apple”. This pepper has a somewhat similar shape to apple and for this reason, in many places, this pepper is also known as the “apple pepper”. Overall, it’s a medium-hot pepper that is good to eat raw or cooked.

What Are Manzano Chile Peppers?

Chile Manzano is medium-hot pepper with an apple-like shape and fruitiness. An underlying citrusy note with an earthy flavor makes this pepper preciously dear to many chile lovers. It’s one of the most sort-after salsa chiles for its fruitiness and medium levels of heat.

The soil and cool climatic conditions of the Andes in South America is the ideal habitat of this pepper that belongs to the Capsicum pubescens species of plant in the family Capsicum.  Manzano chile is one of the few chiles that are cultivated in Mexico that are not included in the Capsicum annuum species.

The basic facts of apple pepper in a gist are:

  • Origin: South America
  • Capsicum species: Pubescens
  • Size: Approximately 3-5 cm in diameter.
  • Scoville heat units (SHU): 12,000 – 30,000 SHU
  • Use: Can be eaten raw or cooked, mostly used in salsa and hot sauces
  • Flavor: Sweet, Citrusy

How Hot Is The Manzano Pepper?

Manzano chile isn’t a mean pepper but it packs enough punch to make your dishes seriously hot and spicy. The heat level of this pepper ranges from 12,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units. On average, it’s about 3 times hotter than jalapeno pepper with a difference that can go up to twelve times hotter. Other popular peppers comparable to Manzano are serrano and chile de àrbol in terms of heat. The unique flavor of fruitiness and citrusy notes underwhelms the actual heat of this pepper on your palate.

Flavor And Appearance

Manzano peppers taste like a jalapeno but fruiter. The mild sweetness of this pepper is what differentiates it from most other hot peppers. The earthiness of Manzano chile with a hint of fruits and citrusy tang makes it a wonderful addition to salsa. The heat level has enough jab to make your dishes moderately spicy. The thick wall of the pepper makes the Manzano crunchy and tasteful like richer and spicier bell pepper.

With an appearance like a small apple, the size of Manzano pepper range from 3-5 cm. When tender, they have light green or pale yellow color but once they get matured the color changes to dark red or orange. The shape is round like cherry or apple-shaped bell pepper.

In short, Manzano peppers are apple-shaped pepper in the size of cherry with medium-level heat, mild sweetness, and distinctive fruity flavor. Nutritionally, it has a high concentration of vitamins C and A.

Culinary Uses Of Chile Manzano

A mixture of spicy, sweet, and fruity flavors this chile is excellent for making tasteful salsa. This chile is also popularly used for making hot sauces. The thick walls of Manzano pepper with fleshy texture are perfect for grilling as a spy side dish.

Pickled Manzano peppers taste great for the sweetness of the pepper very well complements the sour vinegar.

Apple pepper is commonly used in soups, juices, sauces, and in cooked dishes like tamales or stir fry with rice or noodles. The seeds are also used for flavoring chocolate drinks. In South American-style meals, Manzano peppers are often served pickled or fresh in a variety of dishes including omelets and sandwiches.

Note, Manzano peppers aren’t good for drying as this pepper with the thick outer skin and solid flesh in the inner part loses its texture and flavor on drying.

Buying And Storage

Fresh Chile Manzano is rarely available outside South America. This pepper is widely cultivated in Mexico and countries that share the Andes mountain region. You can buy it from the Mexican market that sells the fresh produce of the land. If you can’t get hold of fresh peppers, then buy Manzano pepper seeds from online retail platforms like Amazon and grow them in your kitchen garden. Fresh chiles will keep for 2 weeks if kept in vegetable storing trays of your refrigerator. If you cannot find Manzano peppers, you may use a substitute like jalapeno, serrano, or chile de Arbol in place of it.

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