1. What makes chillies so hot?Embed from Getty Images
Capsaicin, the compound that makes chillies hot, triggers pain receptors in your mouth.
But it also stimulates nerve endings throughout your body, causing sweating, increased heart rate, and even a temporary endorphin release, similar to a runner’s high!
2. How many types of chillies are there?Embed from Getty Images
The 4,000+ varieties of chillies range from sweet and mild to fiery and explosive.
The heat level is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), with bell peppers clocking in at zero SHU and the Carolina Reaper topping the charts at over 2 million SHU!
3. Which is the hottest chilly?Embed from Getty Images
The Carolina Reaper, officially the world’s hottest pepper, was developed by Ed Currie in South Carolina.
It’s a hybrid of two other extremely hot peppers, the Ghost Pepper and the Red Habanero.
4. Birds are important for chilliesEmbed from Getty Images
Birds play a crucial role in chilli seed dispersal, as they’re immune to capsaicin’s heat.
They feast on the peppers, spread the seeds far and wide through their droppings, and help maintain chilli biodiversity.
5. Where did chilly peppers originate?Embed from Getty Images
Chilli peppers originated in South America, where they were domesticated over 8,000 years ago.
The Aztecs revered them as a gift from the gods, using them in food, medicine, and even as currency.
6. Health benefits to chilliesEmbed from Getty Images
Capsaicin has a surprising range of potential health benefits.
It’s used in topical creams to relieve pain, nasal sprays to clear congestion, and studies suggest it may even boost metabolism and aid weight loss.
7. Elephants don’t like chillies!Embed from Getty Images
Chilli fences and chilli-infused smoke have been successfully used in Africa and Asia to deter elephants from raiding crops.
The strong, pungent odor irritates their sensitive trunks and keeps them at bay.
8. They are very important to cooking worldwideEmbed from Getty Images
Chillies are a cornerstone of cuisines worldwide.
They add fiery depth to Indian curries, bring the heat to Sichuan stir-fries, and even feature in Hungarian goulash and Mexican moles.
9. Chilly Chocolate?!Embed from Getty Images
The combination of chocolate and chillies isn’t just delicious; it’s scientifically sound.
Capsaicin can suppress bitterness and enhance sweetness, creating a perfect balance of flavours.
10. You can grow your own!Embed from Getty Images
Chillies are remarkably easy to grow at home, even in containers!
Choose varieties that suit your taste and climate, provide plenty of sunlight and water, and enjoy a fresh supply of homegrown spice all season long.Add a comment