Single Packet of 100 Seeds
Pasilla Bajio peppers (Capsicum annuum 'Pasilla bajio') is one of the "holy trinity" of peppers used in traditional mole sauces, along with anchos and mulatos. Spanish for "little raisin," the pasilla bajio is known as chilaca in its immature green stage; at maturity, it also goes by the names achocolatado, chile negro, and Mexican negro.
Pasilla Bajio Pepper Characteristics
Pasilla Baijo plants average 24 to 30 inches tall and 16 inches wide. They produce a high yield of slightly curved fruits that grow about 6 to 7 inches in length. They start as green peppers, then mature through red to a deep brown color, reaching maturity in about 85 days. When fully mature and dried, they look and smell like raisins.
Pasilla bajio peppers are mild, rating between 1,000 and 2,000 Scoville units, much like poblanos and about eight times milder than jalapeños. When harvested in their young, green state, they are even milder, with a heat as low as 250 Scoville units. Growing conditions also impact the intensity of the peppers' heat -- with less water and fertilizer, the fruits grow hotter.
These peppers may be vulnerable to spider mites and aphids, although organic pesticides help control the pests. In fact, onions planted near the peppers will repel the aphids. While pasillas are resistant to tobacco mosaic virus, they can be susceptible to fungal infections.
Pasilla Bajio Nutrition and Uses
Pasilla bajio peppers are rich in Vitamin C, iron, niacin, and magnesium. They also provide moderate amounts of Vitamins B1, B2, and D.
In addition to their traditional use in mole sauces, Pasillo bajios are delicious roasted and chopped into salsas or pureed into enchilada sauces. Add them to soups, or stuff them with meat or cheese, dip them in an egg batter, and fry them for chiles rellenos.
This roasted salsa is delicious with tortilla chips, spooned over eggs, or used as a sauce for chicken enchiladas or a dip for quesadillas.
Broil six pasillo bajio peppers with two cloves of garlic and half a medium onion for 5 to 7 minutes or until the skin begins to char. Cover them with a towel and let them steam for 5 minutes, then remove the charred skin, stems, and seeds. Place everything in a molcajete or blender and process them with a small amount of water to the chunkiness you prefer. Add a pinch of salt and pepper before serving.
Note: Like with all hot peppers, wear gloves when working with pasillo bajio peppers, and wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face or eyes.
Sowing The Seed
Peppers are best started indoors, in a controlled environment, 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last frost. To prevent root shock, sow your seeds in peat pots, at a depth of 1/4” under topsoil. Transplant when the weather is warm and the plants are about 1 foot tall. Stakes can be used to support your young plants, to ensure proper growth. Check below for additional info on spacing & growth habits.
Pepper plants will thrive in the heat of summer, so they should receive full sunlight for the majority of the day, with temperatures of at least 75F or more. A soil that is rich in organic matter is best, with a pH level of at least 6.2 and 7.0. Also make sure that your sowing medium is well drained, or your plants can wilt due to being waterlogged. Water your pepper seeds daily to provide them with ample amounts of moisture until germination has occurred.
Germination & Growth
Pepper seeds typically take anywhere between 14 to 28 days to germinate. After your seedlings start to grow, they will mature to an estimated height of roughly 24 to 30 inches tall. On average, Pepper plants can be spaced 18 to 24 inches apart from one another, in rows spaced 18 inches apart. These plants do very well when grown directly in the garden, or in large pots and containers as well.