When to Pick Chile de Arbol? (Best Time To Pick)

Tree Chili, locally recognized as “Chile de Arbol” in Spanish, is a chili pepper frequently used in Mexican food. So, what does this pepper look like, and what makes it different from other popular peppers? Keep on reading as I will give you thorough information about Chile de Arbol, when to pick or harvest, its origin, how you can use it, and many others. 

When to pick Chile de Arbol? 

When the fruit is firm and large, it is ready to pick. Or you can wait for the fruit to turn red, brown, yellow, or purple. It may take 80 – 100 days to mature.

Chile de Arbol Overview 

Chile de Arbol

Chile de Arbol is a famous Mexican pepper and hotter than a jalapeno pepper. It is sold both dried and fresh in supermarkets and local vegetable stores and is commonly used to make salsa. You can harvest this chile when the fruit is firm and large. You can also wait until the fruit turns red or purple. But, the vitamin C and sweetness increase drastically as the chile changes color.

If you pick green, your total number of peppers harvested will augment. Usually, fruits set after the last quarter of August will not ripen. So, we suggest pulling out the whole bush before the first frost and hanging it upside down in a dry place to ripen peppers. 

How to Grow Chile de Arbol?

Here are the tips on how to grow a healthy chile de Arbol: 

Tip 1

When growing chile de Arbol, the soil must be rich in calcium and phosphorus. So add compost and lime to the bed at least 21 days before transplanting. 

Tip 2

Combine ½ cup of evenhanded organic fertilizer beneath every plant. Even if chile de Arbol bears dry soil, it will improve its development if kept wet. 

Tip 3

Harden off before planting, and make sure it is 30 to 60cm apart. Five-gallon containers work well, too but need regular irrigation and good drainage.

Tip 4

 Utilizing plastic mulch with a cloche can boost the temperature by some degrees. Pinch back tips for growing to encourage the production of the leaf. This assists in shading the growing fruits and prevents sun-scald in hot weather. 

Diseases and Pests to Be Aware Of 

To avoid wilt and rot, plant in drained soils and follow a stringent four-year crop rotation. If you have cutworm issues, utilize paper collars at the base of the plant. TMV or tobacco mosaic virus, young growth is deformed, and leaves are spotted with yellow. To avoid it, wash your hands after handling tobacco, prior to touching peppers. 

So What Makes This Pepper Apart from Other Mexican Peppers?

Chile de Arbol looks like a small, elongated bean identical to pods, sometimes slightly bowed. As the fruit grows and ripens, they become green to a bloody red. This chile is hotter than jalapeno and has a 65,000 rating on Scoville Heat Scale.

Both ornamental and edible, chile de Arbol adds heat to cooking and color to your backyard with its slim, dark red fruits. This chile will grow almost anywhere with the warm season and 80 to 100 frost-free summer days, making it a perfect addition to backyards in Mediterranean climates. This chile grows effortlessly from seeds germinating dependably if stored under warm moist conditions. On the other hand, they should be sown indoors for eight weeks prior to the last spring frost to reach adult size by planting time.

What does Chile de Arbol Taste Like?

The dried chile de Arbol taste is nutty, smoky, and grassy. All the base tasting notes are highlighted by toasting the chile. This chile is usually used in recipes like salsa to impart more hotness. This also adds to sweet cuisines like cakes and chile-infused brownies.

What is the Spice Level of Chile de Arbol?

This chile packs serious heat with 15,000 to 30,000, which is approximately 3 to 6 times hotter than the average jalapeno pepper. This is also one of the reasons why it is commonly used in making salsa. 

Chile de Arbol Health Facts 

Despite its small size, this chile holds a lot of health advantages. They have massive amounts of Vitamin A and reasonable quantities of C vitamins, both are vital for skin and eye health. Chile de Arbol has minerals like iron and calcium, which make a peppery way of reinforcing your bones. 

Aside from these health advantages, this chile also has a special compound named capsaicin that helps treat inflammation and reduce blood pressure. 

Proper Storage of Chile de Albo

Dry Chile de Arbol

I store my dried chile de Arbol in a dark, cool space to ensure the flavors last longer. I prefer containers made of glass, so the moisture level is appropriately controlled. If you lack space in the cupboards, utilizing a solid container for storage is best as light degrades chilies relatively fast.

Chile de Arbol Buying Guide

This chile is vital for having a well-rounded ingredient. They can be stored easily, so ensure you keep some on hand.

What To Search For

Chile de Arbol must be dry yet still pliant or elastic. Once they are brittle and cracked, it means the tastes will be restrained. 

If the peppers are damp or soft, they have likely been in contact with wetness. It is best to keep away from these. 

Where Can I Find the Best Chile de Arbol?

Chile de Arbol is appetizing once used fresh; however, where can I find them fresh outside of Mexico?

You can buy Chile de Arbol from a local vegetable market or supermarket. They are always sold dried, so finding them raw and fresh is challenging.

One of the superb features of this chile is that if it undergoes the drying process, it keeps red, unlike other types of peppers, which turn brown. In this condition, it can keep its spicy flavor and full heat for six months, even if dried.

In What Cuisines Can I Use Arbol Chile

The most common cuisine I can make from this pepper is chile de Arbol salsa. This cuisine combines the preferred amount of dried peppers with some water, garlic, tomatoes, and salt to add taste.

Then the salsa is blended to make a floppy and smooth paste which is excellent for serving as a dip for tortilla chips or French fries. I also used this on my tacos when me and my partner watching TV. This is also a good meat sauce or a side to a meal of your preference. The salsa has just 25 calories for every serving, which is ideal for vegans like me,

This is also commonly utilized as a dried ground homemade chile spice which you can put directly into meat foods, chicken, or Mexican stews. Are you daring or brave? Why not add an extra heat kick to your food, and sprinkle the spice straight on the food? 

Why Is My Arbol Chile Bitter? 

A simple mistake you can make when dry-toasting Arbol chile is to burn them. Once burned, they impact a bitter taste to the food they are in. Once you catch this prior to putting them into other recipes, it is ideal to start all over again. 

Can I dehydrate my Arbol chiles? 

Since this chile is grown commercially for a drying purpose, it might be a big challenge to look for fresh ones. However, if you do, you can make your own dried Arbol chiles in an oven, dehydrator, or under the sun’s heat. 

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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