Chile pepper salt is the seasoning of choice when it comes to bringing the natural flavors of any dish. It is also called chile salt and pepper salt. This versatile seasoning not only has a bright and crisp saltiness and spiciness attached to it. But, it is also a good way to preserve the freshness and unique flavors of chile peppers. It is composed of two obvious ingredients: chiles and salt. Any variety of chile pepper works from the mildest jalapeños to the world’s hottest Carolina Reaper. However, when it comes to salt, it is usually either coarse sea salt or kosher. Chile pepper salt is also recommended for those people who are trying to reduce their salt intake. The two main ingredients complement each other so well that you won’t be needing an additional sodium flavor.
Chile Pepper Salt Trivia
- Chile pepper salt is a powerhouse. Salt maintains the body’s fluid balance and chile peppers provide a lot of vitamin C.
- The World’s Hottest Pepper, Carolina Reaper, might be kicked away from its spot soon; Dragon’s Breath and Pepper X are its contenders.
- The pepper varieties of 7 pots were named for their capacity to spice up seven pots of stew in one go.
Chile Pepper Salt Buying Guide
Chile pepper salt is relatively easy to find in your favorite grocery stores and online shops. The only downside of buying commercially produced ones is the purity of its ingredients, as some of them have a high concentration of salt, spices and herbs, even stabilizers, and other preservatives. Another disadvantage is that you wouldn’t know how old the chile peppers are. The older they are, the tamer the flavor it brings, making it quite inconvenient to keep adjusting your recipes. Nevertheless, here are some things to look out for when you opt to buy the store-bought ones:
- You can find chile pepper salt in the spice aisle section of the store.
- Check out the ingredients list to see if there are other spices involved in the product.
- As always, pick the ones with lesser preservatives and hard to pronounce chemicals.
- Buy from stores that have a high turn-over rate.
- You can shop based on the color. Chile pepper salt dominantly contains two colors: red and white. Red to purple-black for the chile and white for the salt. First, let’s focus on the chile pepper. Dried chile peppers can be easily categorized into two color groups: red and dark. Red chiles have colors that range from bright orange-red to deep maroon. Thus, these pepper salts provide tropical fruit flavors that bring a good acidity. They also tend to be spicier than their dark counterparts. These pepper salts are best paired with white meats like fish, chicken, and pork. On the other hand, dark chiles have colors that range from rusty-red and dark brown to purple-black. Thus, these pepper salts provide smoky, earthy, and chocolatey-sweet flavors similar to prunes and dried raisins. They are best paired with dark meats like beef or gamey proteins such as wild duck or venison. Now, let’s talk about the salt in chile pepper salt. It’s important to keep in mind that whiter salts provide a cleaner taste; however, bleach may be applied during the refining process. You can learn more about salts in the “sea salt” or “kosher salt” page here at our Texas Real Food Promptuary.
- You can shop based on the type of salt. Any chile pepper salt that is made with either sea salt or kosher will always be the best choice.
- You can shop based on the texture or the grain size. It is important to keep in mind that finer salts are saltier than the coarse ones.
- You can shop based on the pepper’s variety. Chile peppers have more than 4,000 varieties. And while we cannot discuss all of that in one page, we’ve compiled the top ten world’s hottest chile peppers so that you’ll get an idea that once you see their names on the label, expect the chile pepper salt to be one of the spiciest. And by the way, chile peppers have a designated way to measure its level of spiciness; it is called the Scoville Heat Unit, abbreviated as SHU. The higher the number, the hotter the pepper is.
- Carolina Reaper (2,200,000 SHU) – This pepper is best to be described as “200x hotter than jalapeños.” Despite of, it offers fruity notes.
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231 SHU) – Also known as Moruga Scorpion. This pepper is recently discovered from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in South America.
- 7 Pot Douglah (1,853,936 SHU) – Also known as Chocolate 7 Pod, 7 Pod Douglah, and 7 Pot Brown; these names relate to the pepper’s brown color. It is the hottest pepper that is not red in color. Don’t be fooled!
- Dorset Naga (1,500,000 SHU) – This pepper is also a relative of ghost pepper or Bhut Jolokia; however, it is native to the shire county of Dorset in England.
- Naga Morich (1,500,000 SHU) – Also a relative of ghost pepper or Bhut Jolokia; however, this one native to Bangladesh and Northeast India.
- 7 Pot Primo (1,473,480 SHU) – This horticulture pepper looks like a Carolina Reaper but it’s milder.
- Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (1,463,700 SHU) – Named after Butch Taylor, the scorpion stinger found at the top end of the pepper. This Australian native once became the previous holder of the “World’s Hottest Pepper”; it’s as hot as eating a thousand burning coals.
- Naga Viper (1,349,000 SHU) – This extremely rare pepper native to the UK is a hybrid of several different peppers that took years of cross-pollination.
- Ghost Pepper (1,041,427 SHU) – This pepper was misled by the thought of being the World’s hottest pepper because it was the first pepper that rated more than a million Scoville units. Ghost pepper has gained its popularity over the Internet; many people took the challenge of eating this pepper.
- 7 Pot Barrackpore and 7 Pot Red Giant (1,000,000 SHU) – These peppers are also from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago in South America. They provide fruity and nutty flavor notes. Other varieties of 7 Pot Giant include Yellow and Jonah.
If a chile pepper salt includes a pepper variety not listed above, you may also check the “dried chile peppers” page here at our Texas Real Food Promptuary. The most popular peppers are listed there. Also, chile pepper salts from local food vendors and artisans in farmers’ markets are better than the mass-produced ones. Here, you’ll get close to no preservatives and the ingredients are usually organic. You can also ask the salesperson about the pepper’s age. That way, you’ll know right there and then how much heat your chile pepper salt could provide. Their products are also made in small batches and you might be able to get free samples along the way. And don’t forget that our Texas Real Food website is home to all Texan vendors that would love to hear from you.
Chile Pepper Salt Production & Farming in Texas
Both chile peppers and salt are being cultivated in the state of Texas. Chili peppers thrive in the state, especially in the Central region, where they are planted in the spring and harvested in the summer. On the other hand, sea salt is being extracted all throughout the year, especially around the Gulf Coast. The state is also home to the city of Grand Saline, the home of Morton Salt Mine. Therefore, chile pepper salt is widely produced in Texas. Most of this spice is commercially produced, although some locals prefer to craft homemade ones, especially if they have grown chile peppers at home.
Pesticides, additives, and chemicals:
Chile pepper salt is usually free from iodine and other additives because they mostly use either kosher salt or sea salt. However, some manufacturers add some chemicals to fortify the product while mass-producing a longer-lasting item at a lesser cost. Here are some additives and chemicals that we found on very few brands:
- MSG – Monosodium Glutamate is used to enhance the flavor of almost any product. It is the one responsible for creating that umami flavor. Although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause headaches, flushing, palpitations, sweating, nausea, numbness, and weakness to some people. It allegedly can cause asthma, brain damages, and even cancer; however, these allegations remained controversial.
- Natural flavorings – These are additives that are used to intensify the flavors of the product. For chile pepper salt, some natural flavorings include garlic, onion, sugar, green bell pepper, and other spices and herbs.
- Silicon Dioxide – This chemical compound is also known as silica. It is used as a thickener, stabilizer, anticaking agent, and carrier for aroma and flavor. Although it is safe to consume, it can lead to lung problems when consumed past its RDA.
- Rice concentrate – In the absence of the synthetic silicon dioxide, rice concentrate has been the substitute additive. Likewise, it acts as a thickener, stabilizer, anticaking agent, and carrier for aroma and flavor. It is sometimes listed as “rice hulls” and it is the fiber and silica part of rice’s bran. Technically speaking, rice concentrate does not have any white rice. And although it is generally classified as safe to consume, it can cause itchiness and rashes to the skin.
- Caramel Color – It is a water-soluble food coloring that is made from caramelizing natural sources such as sugar or corn. Nonetheless, it acts as an emulsifier and a dye for a more appetizing color. Although this additive is generally safe to eat, it might increase the risk of high blood pressure or hypertension if eaten regularly and in great amounts.
- Gum Arabic – This additive is a natural gum that is made from the sap of the Acacia tree. It acts as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier to bind all the flavorings and sweeteners included in the product. Hence, although it is classified as safe to consume, it can cause nausea, bloatedness, and mild diarrhea.
Chile pepper salt is commonly packaged in glass jars that vary in size.
Enjoying Chile Pepper Salt
Chile pepper salt is the seasoning of choice when you’re looking for heat that varies depending on the chile used. It can be sprinkled on dishes while cooking or curing, or you can use it as a finishing salt on pizzas, tacos, burritos, burgers, steak, roasted vegetables, seafood, and even in popcorns. Another popular way to enjoy this salt is to sprinkle it on top of eggs or an avocado toast – it’ll definitely wake you up in the morning!
Chile pepper salt is best kept in an air-tight jar or container. You can also put them in shakers with a lid on. It should be then stored in a cool and dry area far from humid and hot zones like stoves, grills, and ovens to prolong their shelf life. Generally, a chile pepper salt can last forever. But, it’s better to use it in 3-4 years. Also, its flavor weakens over time and it might absorb some moisture, which can make it lumpy. Your chile pepper salt is most potent within the first 3 months of the production date.
Make your own Chile Pepper Salt:
Chile pepper salt is very easy to do at home. You can do this in less than 5 minutes; yet, it’ll save you a lot of time chopping fresh chiles every time you need them. You can also use dried chiles instead of fresh ones – any type of chile will work. Just keep in mind that dried chile peppers are usually hotter than their fresh counterparts. You may opt to use a funnel when transferring the salt into jar shakers to prevent it from spilling. In addition, you may also remove the seeds if you prefer a milder chile pepper salt.
Yield: 1 cup / 48 teaspoons
- ½ cup fresh, red chiles, green stems removed, minced
- ¾ cup coarse sea salt or 1 cup kosher salt
- Combine the two ingredients and store them in a small jar or an airtight container. Shake the container once a day for the next three days to further distribute the salt.