There are many main species and hundreds of varieties to choose from with different heat levels. The chilli pod is a many seeded berry. It is the seeds and the membrane on the inside where the highest concentration of capsaicin resides and so these are the hottest parts of the chilli.
Just as with bell peppers,the green ones are unripe and have an underlying green bean flavour. If left in a fruit bowl, they will turn red eventually. The red are sweeter in flavour and when dried, the sweet notes intensify even further.
The chilli pepper originates in the Americas and has been consumed there since at least 7500 BC. India is now the biggest producer of chilies, even though they didn’t actually make it to Asia until the 16th century after Columbus came across them in the Americas and sent them back to Spain. The chilli is now cultivated and consumed around the world.
When we eat chilli, our body responds by raising the heart rate, increase perspiration and most amazingly, the body releases endorphins, making us happy!
Handle chillies carefully, as too much heat can make it difficult to appreciate their flavour.
Chillies can enhance many dishes – sweet and savoury.