Cascabel Peppers are mild chile peppers.
They grow wild on the Pacific coast of Central America and Mexico. The plant grows up to 3 feet (1 metre) tall. The peppers are small, only about 1 to 2 inches (2 1/2 to 5 cm) wide. They are round for the most part, perhaps slightly bell shaped. When fresh, they look like a button mushroom, and when dried, look like a cherry, right down to the stem coming off it.
Then ripen from green to red.
They have a spicy taste, but are not particularly hot. There are some tannins in the flavour.
Outside of Mexico, they are usually sold dried. When dried, they turn a reddish-brown, and their seeds rattle around inside them.
Cascabel Peppers are used a great deal in sauces on their own with no other chiles.
Heat: 1,250 - 2,500 or up to 5,000 scoville units, depending on growing conditions.
Use whole and then remove the chile from the dish if you just want the flavour; use chopped if you want the flavour plus the piquancy.
Not the same as the "Cascabella" pepper, and not the same as the Guajillo Chile Pepper, which in north central Mexico is sometimes called "Cascabel".
Called "Coban" in Guatemala.
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-- Elizabeth Berry (American food writer & bean grower)