Chili Peppers

Chili Peppers

My parents had a knack for finding out-of-the-way restaurants that made the best enchiladas on a budget fit for feeding a young family of six. These were always some of my favorite outings and established Mexican cuisine at the top of my favorites list. A cheese enchilada would go with me to the proverbial desert island. What’s at the base of Mexican food? The awesome chili pepper of the genus Capsicum. From very mild, like the green chili, to burning hot, like the habanero, the discovery of chili peppers in Mexico changed the culinary world forever.

Here’s a succinct, 3-minute video on growing chili peppers from seed with a nice step-by-step. How brave are you? Here’s a 4-minute, step-by-step recipe for making hot sauce from hot chili peppers. Here’s an awesome, 6-minute recipe for making chili rellenos from scratch.

FunFacts about Chili Peppers: (Source) (Source)  

  • Basic Information, quote: The chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanacea. They are widely used in many cuisines to add spiciness to dishes. The substances that give chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and related compounds known as capsaicinoids. (Source)
  • Chili peppers originated in Mexico but upon their discovery by Europeans soon spread throughout the world as both a food and as a medicine.
  • In 2014, worldwide, there were nearly 33 million tons of green chili peppers produced and nearly 4 million tons of dried red chili peppers.
  • China is the world’s largest grower of green chilis and provides half the world’s supply.
  • Different varieties of chili peppers were domesticated about 6000 years ago. Peru has the highest diversity of chili peppers because the five main varieties have been grown there through the ages.
  • Here’s a list of chili pepper species and which familiar chili peppers belong to each, quote:
    • Capsicum annuum, which includes many common varieties such as bell peppers, wax, cayenne, jalapeños, chiltepin, and all forms of New Mexico chile.
    • Capsicum frutescens, which includes malagueta, tabasco and Thai peppers, piri piri, and Malawian Kambuzi
    • Capsicum chinense, which includes the hottest peppers such as the naga, habanero, Datil and Scotch bonnet
    • Capsicum pubescens, which includes the South American rocoto peppers
    • Capsicum baccatum, which includes the South American aji peppers (Source)
  • Chili pepper pods are berries.
  • The leaves of every species of Capsicum are non-toxic and edible.
  • In terms of medicine, quote: Capsaicin, the chemical in chili peppers that makes them hot, is used as an analgesic in topical ointments, nasal sprays, and dermal patches to relieve pain. (Source)
  • Chili peppers are a source of Vitamin C, the B Vitamins, and A Beta-Carotene.
  • The part of the pepper closest to the stem is the hottest because of a higher concentration of Capsicum.
  • Birds are completely immune to the burning effects of Capsicum.
  • There is a scale for hotness in peppers called the Scoville scale. The unit of heat measurement is called a Scoville Heat Unit or SHU. Mild bell peppers range from 1-100 SHU while cayenne can range anywhere from 30,000-50,000 SHU. However, the Carolina Reaper is the acknowledged winner at 2.2 million SHU.
  • Chipotle peppers are red jalapeno peppers that have been smoke-dried.
  • Capsaicin in peppers helps keep fungi away as the peppers grow.
  • Capsaicin can also help clear your sinuses by thinning mucous, but check with your doctor before trying any home remedies.

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(Photos from Pixabay) 

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*** This Week’s Giveaway is Closed ***

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First July Winner: Kim C.!!!

June Winners: Mary M., Amy S., Mary P., and Suzi D!

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To be entered into the giveaway drawing, please leave a comment about chili peppers. Do you like them hot? Which photo did you like best? Feel free to share whatever comes to mind and share from the heart.

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32 thoughts on “Chili Peppers

  1. Love the pictures, the red peppers really stand out in the pictures. When I grew a garden I had different kinds of peppers in it, I had the bell pepper, banana pepper, and some jalapeño and chili peppers. I use the dried peppers in my cooking all of the time. My husband ‘s best friend in Ohio grew some very hot peppers and dried them and gave us some to use in our cooking.

  2. I only began to appreciate the diversity of peppers in my food a few years ago. While I prefer mild, I do like a little heat every now and again. It is astonishing how the many varieties of peppers have impacted our entire globe. I love the color array they offer,

  3. I like peppers. I don’t eat a lot of Mexican food but the Chinese food I like has not pepper in it. I was fixing peppers one year and forgot and run my eyes.Needless to say there were years in the kitchen. I think my oldest daughter has a cast iron stomach. The spicer the better for her. Hope everyone had a great Wednesday ;)☺

  4. I love spicy food. I like hot salsa and chips, really any mexican food. I also like the hot mustard sauce, I put it on my eggrolls.

  5. I think peppers are just beautiful, but to me they’re an enemy. I can’t handle the heat of them in my food. I want to taste the food itself, but I find a hot pepper kills my taste buds. However, for those people who can handle it, my hat is off to you. Enjoy!

  6. I’m with you on the enchiladas and peppers. I couldn’t live without them. I was raised on the Mexican border with a Mexican nanny and I learned to eat spicy food before anything else and still couldn’t imagine life without it, wouldn’t even want to.

    • Lynn,
      Raised in California, Mexican food was everywhere. How lucky you were to get the real thing growing up!

      Buckeye Arizona USA

  7. I used to eat a lot of hot (spicy) food, but I can’t tolerate it as hot as I used to–but I still eat some hot stuff. Love a hot salsa or picante…and I love my local Mexican restaurant.

    denise from maryland

  8. We love spicy foods and chili’s, I would love to grow some. I am situating my patio so I can grow a few plants on it.

  9. I love spicy food! I eat jalapenos raw with cheese. My favorite shake is a vanilla & jalapeno shake. The more juice the better.

  10. Enjoyed all the colorful photos but unfortunately my stomach doesn’t take to spicy! When I was younger I could eat them but not anymore. I enjoyed them when I could eat them. AZ

  11. Pretty to look at, but except for your basic salt & pepper, I’m allergic to just about every spice you could think of.

  12. I’m not much of a spice lover, but I do love a little bit. I won’t be eating any peppers on their own though!

  13. Sad to say I can’t eat anything spicy. The pictures are as usual beautiful. I checked out the Carolina Reaper link and had to laugh that it was developed at the Puckerbutt Pepper Company! I saw part of a hot pepper eating contest on tv and the contestants looked like they were going to die.

  14. Hi. I am from Hempstead, Texas. I love spicy food. The pictures are great, I like the peppers in the basket the most.

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