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2018 Save-the-Date Datil Pepper Fall Festival

History of The Datil Pepper

     The Datil pepper belongs to C. Sinense Jacques. This species is most readily distinguished by the three to five flowers at each node, the drooping pedicels, and the circular constriction at the base of the fruit "cap."

     "Capsaicin [ kap-SAY-ih-sihn] - A potent compound that gives some CHILES their fiery nature. Capsaicin is found in the seeds and membranes of the pepper. Cooking and freezing will not remove capsaicin's intensity. The only way to reduce the intensity is to remove the seeds and the veins of the pepper to reduce the heat. Capsaicin is known for its decongestant qualities and causes the brain to produce endorphins.

     Datil peppers can be made into a hot sauce. Individual families make their own sauces, using well-guarded recipes. It can also be used in gourmet dishes.

     The Datil (pronounced Daa’-til-sounds like That’ll) pepper hotness ‘meter’ ranges by color.  Green color Datils are the hottest then orange. The Datil is hotter than the habanero but the Datil has a sweeter, fruitier flavor. The Datil is HOT – rated between 350,000 to 450,000 Scoville units.

     While some people contend the pepper was brought to Florida with Minorcan and African Slaves, via the Caribbean and South America along the Amazon in the 1700s, records seem to confirm that it came over with a Cuban jelly manufacturer named S.B. Valls in the 1800s. The Datil became a signature ingredient in local Minorcan cuisine still served today in St. Augustine. Why it is only found in St. Augustine is unknown. Recent research by the University of Florida has grown plants and fruits from seeds that were collected from all known local and commercial sources, world wide, that were reported to be true Datil peppers. An extremely small number of those were the true Datil pepper as determined via modern molecular finger printing

     Plants grow best in shade and can grow in excess of 12 feet. They can be cut back and grown for many years. Seeds germinate slowly as do seedlings.