Whole fresh or dried or powdered
Capsicin, carotenoids, flavonoids, volatile oils, steroidal saponins
The serrano pepper (Capsicum annuum) is a type of chili pepper that originated in the mountainous regions of the Mexican states of Puebla and Hidalgo. The name of the pepper is a reference to the mountains (sierras) of these regions.
Mature serrano pepper plants reach a height of 1.5 to 5.0 ft tall. Each plant can hold up to 50 pepper pods. The fruit can be harvested while they are green or ripe. Unripe serrano peppers are green, but the color at maturity varies. Common colors are green, red, brown, orange, or yellow. Serrano peppers do better in soils with a pH between 7.0 and 8.5 and in warm temperatures above 75°F (24°C); they are not frost tolerant.
The Scoville rating of the serrano pepper is 10,000 to 25,000. They are typically
eaten raw and have a bright and biting flavor that is notably hotter than the
jalapeño pepper. Serrano peppers are also commonly used in making pico de
gallo, and salsa, as the chili is particularly fleshy compared to others, making it
ideal for such dishes.
It is one of the most used chili peppers in Mexican cuisine. The Mexican states
of Veracruz, Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas produce about 180,000 tons of
serranos each year.
The serrano: Looks like a slender jalapeño. As it ages, it turns from green to red to yellow. Rich and potentially blistering (though sometimes fairly mild), serranos show up most often in salsas, marinades, sauces and chilis. Its size and shape make the serrano difficult to core and seed, so the best way to temper it is by using less of it.
To add a kick to your basic cornbread recipe, try adding two thinly sliced serrano chilis to the batter, then bake as usual.
As it matures, its smooth, bright green skin turns scarlet red, then yellow. Fresh serranos can be found in Latin markets and some supermarkets. They are also available canned, pickled or packed in oil, sometimes with carrots, onions or other vegetables. Serranos can be used fresh or cooked in various dishes and sauces such as guacamole and salsa. The dried serrano chile, also known as chile seco, comes whole and powdered and is generally used in sauces.