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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Chili

HISTORY OF CHILIES

Chilies were being eaten in Central and South America as long ago as 7,000 BC, which gives them claims to be the world’s oldest condiment.

The small, round Chiltepin chili pepper was used as a tax payment, paid to Aztec emperors.

Aztec women beautified themselves with a skin cream made of chilli powder and urine.

Chilies originated in the Americas. They were brought to Spain in 1493 by Diego Alvarez Chanca, a physician who sailed with Columbus.

Because Chilies are native only to the Americas. India and Thailand didn't have spicy food before Columbus.

When chili peppers were introduced to Japan in the 16th century, they were not eaten—they were inserted into socks to keep their toes warm.


Chilies were introduced to Thai cooking during the late 1600s by Portuguese missionaries who had acquired a taste for them while serving in South America.

Records dating to the Colonial days show that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew a cayenne pepper of some type, at Mount Vernon and Monticello respectively.

Poor early nineteenth century Mexicans of San Antonio in Texas ate a spicy stew of pork or beef, pinto beans and chilies which they called chili con carne. “Con carne” means with meat.

FUN CHILI FACTS

Chilli Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in February on the grounds that hot food is most needed in a cold month.

African farmers attach chillies to fences to keep elephants away from their crops. Elephants hate the smell of chillies.

Chilli strength is measured in SHUs (Scoville Heat Units). Scoville ratings range from zero for bell peppers to 16 million Scoville units for pure capsaicin (the chemical giving a chilli its heat).

Florida Marlins,baseball infielder Bret Barberie once got chili pepper juice in his eye when putting in his contact lenses. He was temporarily blinded, and missed that day's game as a result.

The world record for eating pickled jalapeno chills is 275 in eight minutes.

The color of a chili pepper is no indication of its heat - usually its the smaller peppers that are the hottest.

The hottest part of a chili is where the seed is attached to the white membrane inside the pepper.

The Carolina Reaper is a red-colored cultivar of chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense species. As of 2013, Guinness Book of Records has dubbed it as the hottest pepper in the world. It is 400 times hotter than a jalapeno.

Carolina Reaper pepper pods harvested in November, 2013 Wikipedia

While the capsaicin in peppers may burn and irritate the flesh of mammals, birds are completely immune to its effects.

Chili peppers boost your metabolic rate, causing the body to burn 50 more calories a day.

Chili peppers have about 107 mg of vitamin C, compared to an orange’s 69 mg.

The village of Hatch in New Mexico describes itself as the chili capital of the world.

The Scoville scale measures the degree of dilution needed before you can no longer taste the pepper's heat. The capsaicinoids are extracted and diluted until three-fifths of expert tasters cannot taste the heat. The units refer to the number of drops of water used for dilution: one million means one drop of extract requires 1 million drops of water.

In February 2012, a Moruga Scorpion chili was the first to measure over 2,000,000 Scoville units.

Sources Daily Express, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce

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