Mexico is the center of origin, domestication and diversification of the Capsicum annuum
chile variety; these plants are woody-stalked and shrub-like. Their flowers are usually white, sometimes greenish. Fruits vary in size, color and flavor, depending on soil type, climate, etc.
chile belongs to this species and is one of several varieties of mirasol
Mirasol chiles bear fruits of varying size, color and flavor; when fresh, their color ranges from red to crimson; when dried, the chile receives different names: cascabel, guajillo, costeño and catarino, among others.
Guajillo chiles’ names correspond to each variety’s level of piquancy: guajillo ancho or guajillo dulce chiles are the least spicy; guajillo chicos are subtly piquant; guajillo puyas, also known as guajillo que pica chiles, are the hottest.
All feature an elongated, triangular shape and deep red color; sizes vary, but generally range from 8 to 10 centimeters long. Guajillos are frequently used for color in traditional cuisines and are essential to pozoles, menudos and adobos.
This chile is also an ingredient in moles and salsas that accompany antojitos; they lend color and flavor to chileatoles and tamal sauces.
Guajillo production and consumption is centered in the Northern Highlands (Zacatecas and Durango) as well as the Central Highlands region.
The costeño chile is related to the guajillo and is also known as a bandeño chile. When fresh, it is green in color, cylindrical or elongated, triangular in shape, and measures up to 7 centimeters; when dried, its color ranges from yellow to light red; its flavor is spicy.
Costeño chile production and consumption is centered in the South Pacific Region (Guerrero and Oaxaca); the chiles are used in soups, sauces, stews, broths and certain moles.