Like many hot peppers Pasilla Bajio hails from Mexico but there the similarity ends. Although classified as a hot pepper, Pasilla Bajio is a slightly sweet, mild, rich-flavoured pepper with pods that ripen to a wrinkled chocolate brown. They contain only 1,000 to 1,500 Scoville units.
The name Pasilla actually refers to the chile in its dried form, Pasilla meaning raisin in Spanish, a reference to the colour of a fully ripe pasilla. Fresh pasillas are called Chilaca, they are also simply referred to as 'chile negro', meaning black chile. Other Spanish names for Pasilla Bajio include Quernillo, Pasa And Prieto.
Pasilla Bajio plants grow from 60 to 90cm (24 to 36in) tall and the fruits mature in 80 to 85 days. The fresh narrow chilaca can measure up to 22cm (9in) long and often has a twisted shape, which is seldom apparent after drying. It turns from dark green to dark brown as it matures and ripens.
Pasilla bajios are commonly toasted and crumbled for use in numerous Mexican sauces including mole, the holiday sauce famous in the Oaxaca region of Mexico and the red sauce of enchiladas.
Pasilla peppers are often combined with fruits and are excellent served with duck, seafood, lamb, mushrooms, garlic, fennel, honey or oregano.
Storage of Seeds:
Store seeds away from children, sealed in their packaging in a cool, dry, dark place, or in a fridge. Never store them in a freezer as the sudden temperature drop is likely to kill them. Don't leave the seeds in direct sunlight as the heat generated may kill them.
Sowing: Sow from mid February to mid June
The temperature, moisture, and air circulation all play a role in growing plants from seeds. Too little heat, too much moisture, and lack of air circulation will cause poor results. Do not use jiffy peat pots, plugs, or potting soil as the soil becomes too dry or too wet, which can lead to low germination, disease and fungus.
Fill small cells or trays with a good sterile seed compost and sow the seeds on the surface. “Just cover” with a fine sprinkling (3mm) of soil or vermiculite.
Keep the compost moist - don't let the top of the compost dry out (a common cause of germination failure) If you wish, spray the surface with a dilute copper-based fungicide.
Cover the pot or tray with plastic film or place in a heated propagator, south facing window or a warm greenhouse. The ideal temperature is around 18 to 20°C (65 to 72°F)
When the seedlings have produced their first pair of true leaves they can be potted on into individual 7 to 10cm (3 to 4in) pots. Use good quality potting compost and mix in some organic slow release fertiliser. Pot the chilli on again before it becomes root-bound.
Water the seedlings regularly, but don't let them become waterlogged as this encourages rot. Don't let them dry out as they rarely recover at this stage. Water the soil, not the foliage. Once the plants have established, it is better to water heavy and infrequently, allow the top inch or so to dry out in between watering.
Seedlings should be grown in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight from late spring to early autumn. Weaker sunlight from autumn to spring is unlikely to do them harm. Once seedlings have put on some growth they need lots of light. Growing them under a grow-light produces excellent stocky plants, as will a warm sunny windowsill. Adult chilli plants need lots of light. However, more than 4 hours or so in hot direct sunlight will dry them out quickly.
Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 2 to 3 weeks before they are moved permanently outside. Plant them into rich moist soil. Flower do not form and fruit will not set if the temperature is much below 17°C (62°F) for most of the day, so wait until June/July for best results with outdoor planting.
After the first flowers appear, feed every one or two weeks with a half-strength liquid tomato feed. You could also add Seaweed extract to the water once a week.
Pollinating Flowers: (optional)
Chilli plants are self fertile and will generally pollinate themselves. However, if you want to give them a helping hand to ensure that lots of fruit are set indoors, use a cotton wool bud to gently sweep the inside of the flowers, spreading the pollen as you go. The flower's petals will drop off as the green middle part of the flower starts to swell slightly. This is the chilli pepper beginning to grow.
Harvesting: Harvest in 80 to 85 days
Chillies will take a few weeks to develop and a further couple weeks to turn from dark green to dark brown. Harvest any time after they are fully developed. Use scissors to snip the fruits so you don't damage the plant.
After being roasted and peeled, Chilaca can be preserved by either canning or freezing. Storing in airtight containers will suffice for several months. Chilaca can also be dried for later use.
Be careful handling chilli seeds as they can cause a painful burning sensation: Avoid contact with the eyes or any sensitive skin before washing your hands thoroughly.
These peppers are very hot please make sure whomever tries them knows before-hand !
Chili, or chile is the dominant Spanish word for peppers, although the native Indian term aji is used in some countries like Chile, whose name is unrelated to the pepper. The name is a variation of the Nahuatl (the Aztec language) word, chilli. The term is a misnomer: Christopher Columbus, upon tasting chilies for the first time, thought the spicy-hot ingredient was a variation of the Indian pepper, Piper nigrum, which he knew from the old world. The name combined the new world word, chilli, with the inaccurate old world word, pepper.
The pasilla chili is similar, but not identical to, the poblano chile. Some people believe the pasilla and poblano to be the same species, but they are not. Dried chilaca is pasilla, while dried poblano is called ancho.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 20 Seeds Common Name Mild: 1,000 to 1,500 SHU. Other Common Names Aka 'Chile Negro' and Bird’s Beak Chile Family Solanaceae Genus Capsicum Species annuum Cultivar Pasilla Bajio Hardiness Tender Perennial often used as an Annual Fruit To 22cm (9in) long, maturing from dark green to dark brown Height 75 to 135cm (30 to 50in) Position Grown in good light, but should not be exposed to direct sunlight Soil Rich moist soil. Time to Sow Sow from mid February to mid June Time to Harvest 80 to 85 days.