The facts about chilis, including the long standing, ‘how do you spell it’ argument, vary slightly depending upon whose information you read. We often get asked, ‘what’s this new craze with all things chili? Well, here’s some stuff that might surprise you…
Consumed by humans as long ago as 6000-7500bc in Southern America. Brought back to Europe by Columbus in the late 1400’s and then the chili spread to Asia, mainly by Portuguese traders.
The main heat from the chili is found in the whiteish membrane that lines the inside of the fruit, that’s where most of the capsaicin is found.
Capsaicin is the chemical in chilis that makes your mouth burn. The chemical formula for Capsaicin is C18H27NO3 Amazing! The chili is related to the tomato.
The people of Thailand reportedly consume more chilies than any other population in the world. One great way to get rid of the burning effect of chili is to eat full fat yoghurt. Water does no good whatsoever. Capsaicin is only truly soluble in alcohol but the caseins in milk have a cleaning/reducing effect on the capsaicin.
We spell chili with one ‘L’ because it looks way cooler that way. End of story!
The heat of a chili is measured in scoville units, here’s roughly how it works….
• Get five mates over for the evening and fill the fridge with cooling beverages
• Take a known quantity of capsaicin oil from the chili pepper you want to measure the heat of
• Prepare some warm sugary water
• Dilute a known quantity of the warm sugary water into the capsaicin
• Get your five mates to taste the mixture
• Keep adding more sugary solution to a known quantity of capsaicin until, when your mates taste the solution, they stop screaming and feel no heat at all
• Record the amount of sugary solution as a ratio:1 part capsaicin and there is your scoville rating! Simple
Alternatively go on line, there’s tonnes of reference to scoville units of various chili peppers, you’ll keep your mates and save on cooling beverages. By the way, you need five mates because on official tasting panels that calculate Scoville units five is the general minimum number of people deemed to be sensible to gather an accurate consensus.
We could list the facts for pages and pages, you’d get bored and stop shopping, not good at all!