Sizzling Hot Chili Peppers
Chili Peppers Variety
Chili peppers are botanically fruits, but treated as vegetables in the culinary environment.
Chili (plural Chilis), Chile (plural Chiles), Chilli (plural Chillies) are spellings recognized by dictionaries. Chili is widely used and Chile has no relation to the country.
The following are the most common varieties of Chili peppers:
Bell Peppers – also known as sweet peppers. They are available in red, yellow, green or orange. Bell peppers are not hot or spicy.
Banana Peppers - is a slender yellow banana-shaped variety and has a mild, sweet taste.
Pepperoncini – has a wrinkled skin which is light yellow-green but will turn red as they mature. This is usually sold pickled.
Pimento or Pimiento (Spanish word for pepper) – also known as cherry peppers, is a large, red, heart-shaped pepper. Its flesh is sweet, succulent and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper. Not overly spicy, being rather mild and sweet to the taste. Usually used fresh, or pickled and jarred.
Poblano – resembles a small bell pepper at the top but tapers to a point. They are mild chili peppers but the ripened red poblanos are hotter and has more flavor than the less ripe, green ones. Their skins are thick and suitable for stuffing.
Anaheim – is a mild variety of chili pepper with a long, skinny body which are considerably longer than jalapenos. They are bright green to red when fresh, and brownish red when dried.
Jalapeno - a small to medium-sized chili peppers which grow to about two to three inches long. They are bright green and turn to red when left on the vine longer. The most common variety is green. The red variety of the jalapeño is a bit milder and sweeter than the green variety. Jalapeno is probably the most famous chili pepper in the world.
Habanero – one of the hottest varieties of chili peppers. A variety of the habanero called Red Savina was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's hottest chili for many years. Unripe habaneros are green, and they color as they mature. Common colors are orange and red, but white, brown, and pink are also seen.
Serrano – small and green, looks like a jalapeno but it is much hotter. The smaller the Serrano, the hotter it tastes. Best when roasted and are perfect for salsas, sauces, relishes and garnishes.
Tabasco – these small but extremely hot peppers grow pointing upward, is tapered and under 2 inches long.
Cayenne - bright red chili growing from 2-5 inches long and usually sold as a powder.
Capsaicin is the substance that makes chili peppers hot. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.
Much of the capsaicin in a chili pepper is in its ribs and seeds, so if you want to reduce the heat, remove these parts of the peppers.
Aside from burning your mouth and skin, capsaicin has some health benefits:
Fight Cancer – studies done on mice show that capsaicin drives prostate cancer cells to kill themselves.
Provide Pain Relief – capsaicin inhibits Substance P, a neuropeptide that is the key transmitter of pain to the brain. Studies have found that capsaicin both relieves and prevents cluster headaches, migraine headaches and sinus headaches.
Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion - helps to stimulate secretions that help clear mucus from the nose, relieving nasal congestion. It also contains antibacterial properties that fight and prevent chronic sinus infections, or sinusitis.
Fight Inflammation - capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and inhibits Substance P, which is associated with inflammatory processes. As much as it relieves headaches and migraines, capsaicin may be a potential treatment for arthritis, psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.
Soothe Intestinal Diseases – a study found that capsaicin may lead to a cure for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It can also help to kill bacteria such as H. pylori.
Burn Fat and Lose Weight - Capsaicin is a thermogenic agent, which means it increases metabolic activity so it helps burn calories and fat.
Protect Your Heart - Capsaicin may help to protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet aggregation.
Vitamins In Chili Peppers
A typical chili pepper has more Vitamin C than an orange. We all know that Vitamin C is essential in tissue repair, improvement of the immune system, and proper circulation.
Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B2
These Vitamin B’s are found in most hot peppers. B6 which cannot be produced by the body helps with blood production, nervous system health and hormone function. B2 (Riboflavin) helps reduce migraine headaches and is a strong antioxidant.
Vitamin A helps in red blood cell formation, immune system function and vision health. There is an abundance of Vitamin A in hot peppers.
Helps protect skin from UV radiation and free radicals (pollution, stress, and smoking). Traces of these vitamins are found in hot peppers.
Burn Solutions and Scoville Heat Units
If you bit into a chili pepper and you find that you can’t take the heat, take dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, or ice cream. Dairy products contain casein, a protein substance that combats the effects of capsaicin.
If dairy products are not available, mix a tablespoon or more of sugar with 1 cup water and rinse your mouth with it. The relief lasts while the mixture is in your mouth, so rinse your mouth, spit and repeat. Cold sugar solution is recommended.
Other unsubstantiated ways to combat heat from peppers are to eat any one of these: cucumber, a raw carrot, a banana, an apple, chocolate (milk chocolates are better than dark), starchy foods (known to combat the burning sensation) such as rice, bread, potato.
The heat (or piquance) of a chili pepper is measured by The Scoville Scale. The number of Scoville Heat Units (SHU) is the amount of capsaicin present in a chili pepper. Example: Bell peppers are measured at zero SHU while the habanero pepper measures at 300,000 SHU. The higher the number, the hotter the chili.
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper – hottest chili in the world today with 2 million SHU.
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