Friday, November 4, 2011
Surprisingly, the biquinho pepper is a cultivar of the Capsicum chinense pepper, which makes it the same species as the fiery habanero pepper, one of the hottest in the world. As the heat in this species is a natural defense mechanism, botanists think that the biquinho is the result of selective cultivation - choosing only the seeds from the least-spicy plant to cultivate the following season. Over time the naturally-occurring heat of this chile has been eliminated in the piquinho cultivar.
Biquinho peppers are small, round and either a brilliant scarlet-red or sunshine-yellow, with a small beak-shaped protuberance hanging from the end. The plant makes a beautiful ornamental plant, and many biquinho plants grace Brazilian gardens and yards - not to be harvested for eating, but for the beauty of the plant and its fruit.
In our next post, we'll publish a very Brazilian recipe for conserving biquinho peppers - one that can be adapted to almost any variety of chili pepper.