African pepper is a name for several unrelated pepper-like spices traded from the general region of West Africa:. .
African Peppers – Sandia Seed Company
At Sandia Seed, we love offering peppers from around the world to gardeners everywhere.If you want to grow African peppers, make sure to check out the Fatalii pepper.They say the combination of the weather, soil and growing conditions there are what give them their special Hatch flavor.So why not grow your own?No matter what type of pepper you grow, make sure to keep the seeds warm to get them to germinate (they are slower than most other vegetable seeds). .
Chilis of Africa
In West Africa, Chilis are commonly called "Peppers", which causes considerable confusion.This is the favorite chili for making the famous Harissa Sauce of Tunisia, which has spread to the rest of the Maghreb region.Up to 2 inches long, these are standard Bird Chilis, brought to Africa by the Portuguese, and are used under the same name in Portugal as well.The photo examples are not as dark and dull as those from Africa because they were dried in my electric dehydrator, so didn't have time for the colors to degrade.Today there are many cultivars, but the Cayenne pod is generally long and thin, up to nearly 10 inches, often curved at the tip, and ripens pointing down.They come in Green, Red, Orange and Yellow, with White, Purple and "Chocolate" varieties known.They are quite wrinkled and often squat, very much the shape of the Habanero Orange chilis we have here in Southern California, but quite a bit smaller.Subst : None required, we have plenty of green bell peppers in North America, and even some medium size ones.Many markets in Nigeria sell both squat and elongated Red Bell Peppers as "Tatashe".It got its name from a formerly common (now rare) variety in Jamaica that was of a flattened disk shape said to look like a Scottish hat.Today, due to the meddling of chili growers, they come in many shapes, colors and levels of hotness.Every market in Nigeria seems to have a different idea as to what a Shombo Chili is, but all pretty much agree it's red and hot.In Nigeria it is often called "Red Bell Pepper", but reliable sources say that is definitely wrong and they are not interchangeable.The confusion is so great some recipe writers, when the call for "Tatashe" add "the long pointed one".this is a very small roughly spherical low heat (H3) pepper grown in Limpopo province of South Africa.The pickled product is available on-line in North America for about 2021 US #11.42 for a 14 ounce jar, containing about 20 peppers, Ingred: Juanita peppers, water, sugar, vinegar, salt, citric acid, ascorbic acid, calcium chloride.It is quite hot (H4-5), but, can be easily and almost entirely disarmed by capping, splitting, and carefully removing the seed mass and the internal membranes.Native to the mountains of Mexico, these have more flavor than hot green chilis in most of the world, but within reason.Serranos are fairly hot (about H6), but the heat can be much reduced if necessary, by removing the seed mass and membranes.This is not an African Chili, but nearly all recipes from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia I have seen written in English call for Jalapeños.The skin is dark green (or red), smooth and shiny but often has faint stretch marks (corking).It is also displacing Bird Chilis in other parts of the world due to being easier to grow and harvest, so it's probably grown in Africa by now.They are narrow, pointy and start growing point up, but turn downward as they reach full size.Some minor varieties are black if in full sun, turning bright orange when ripe. .
How chili peppers conquered the world (or at least most of it)
When considering the many cuisines and food cultures of the world, have you ever wondered why so many of them feature chili peppers?Chilies are not native to Asia, Africa, Europe, or Australia, so it’s not as if cooks in Thailand or India have always been able to go out to the garden or field and grab some.For answers to these questions, Francis Lam turned to Heather Arndt Anderson, a botanist, historian and food writer who wrote a book called Chillies, A Global History for The Edible Series.FL: With chilies what could possibly be the evolutionary advantage to hurt the animals that eat you?Mammals taste things differently than birds, and both have a hand in spreading seeds.The thing with birds is that they don't have capsaicin receptors in their mouths, so they can't actually taste the spiciness.That's why birds have played such an important role in spreading chilies, whereas mammals have tended to avoid them – non-human animals I should say.Chilies have had a real evolutionary advantage in selecting for birds as the propagators of their seed versus mammals.Famously, peppers are native to the New World: Mexico or Central or South America, somewhere in that area is where they originated.He had an interest in finding routes to South America or the New World because he couldn't travel through the Indian Ocean.The second time, when he came in 1493, that's when he realized that there was some cool stuff in the New World that he could bring back to Europe.HAA: Germany is an interesting situation because right when chilies were blowing up in Europe, the Protestant Reformation was also happening, so Germans didn't really want a lot to do with Catholic countries like Spain and Italy.Versus Hungary who had a lot more contact with the Ottomans and with Muslim travelers, and so they were exposed to it more.In Asia though, spices were an exotic trade commodity that were definitely commodified, and chili fit in well with all of the pepper and prickly ash – or what we’d think of as Sichuan peppercorn – that was being used already.And the people who had contact with Portuguese explorers had a real interest in taking these vegetables, which were very nutritious, or their fruits, and having them in their own gardens to spice up their food.Just because humans found one quality that they liked in one little organism and were able to manipulate that into something that would be so different over the course of a few hundred years. .
How the chili spread from its South American home and spiced up
In 1492, when Christopher Columbus set off from Spain to find a westward route to Asia, he was looking to secure Europe's kitchen, not change it.The ingredient, imported from the Spice Islands of Asia, had fueled the economies of trading ports like Alexandria, Genoa and Venice.But by the Middle Ages, black pepper had become a luxury item, so expensive that it was sold by the corn and used to pay rent and taxes.For hundreds of millions of poor, chilies are the one luxury they can afford every day, a small burst of flavor in the slums of Asia or the parched grazing land of West Africa.Linda Perry, a postdoctoral fellow in archaeobiology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, has identified microfossils of the starch grains found in chilies on grinding stones and cooking pots unearthed in the Caribbean, Venezuela and the Andes.In a paper published in Science last February, she and fellow researchers found that domesticated chilies were being eaten in southern Ecuador some 6,250 years ago."There are thousands of types and we're still discovering new ones," says Paul Bosland, director of the Chile Pepper Institute at the New Mexico State University in Santa Fe.But as British author Lizzie Collingham relates in her excellent history Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors, which tells the story of India and its rulers through their food, Europeans initially weren't that enamored with the new spice that Columbus brought back from the New World."On the Iberian peninsula," writes Collingham, "chilies were grown more as curious ornamental plants than as sources of a fiery flavoring.".Within 30 years of Columbus' first journey, at least three different types of chili plants were growing in the Portuguese enclave of Goa, on India's west coast.As chilies were added to the cooking pots of Asia, they also entered existing local trade routes and were taken to Indonesia, Tibet and China. .
West African Bonnet Chile Peppers Information and Facts
West African Bonnet chile peppers are tapered, slightly creased pods, averaging 5 to 7 centimeters in length, and have an irregular shape with blunt, curved ends.Underneath the surface, the flesh is crisp, pale red or orange, and thin, encasing a central cavity filled with small, round, and flat, cream-colored seeds.The peppers also contain magnesium, flavonoids, phytochemicals, and a high amount of capsaicin, which is the chemical compound that triggers the brain to feel the sensation of heat or spice.The peppers can be used whole and removed at the end of the cooking process to add minimal heat, or they can be sliced, minced, or chopped for the highest amount of spice and flavor.West African Bonnet chile peppers pair well with tropical fruits such as melons, papaya, pineapple, coconut, and green mango, tomatoes, onions, okra, corn, yams, plantains, seafood such as shrimp, scallops, and white fish, and meats such as pork, goat, and poultry.The fresh peppers will keep 1-2 weeks when stored whole and unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.As the consumer market in the United States shifts toward plant-based eating and healthier habits, researchers are looking to West African cuisine as one of the trending food styles of 2020. .
5 of Africa's Hottest Chili's
All of these chili’s vary in degree of hotness, but are specially grown in areas of Africa.For chili enthusiast, the Moshi chili pepper is a rare treat indeed.This pepper is very rare.Included below is the Scoville ratings of the peppers.The Scoville rating system, named after Wilbur Scoville, the man who created the scale in 1912, is a unit of ‘hotness’ related to each chili pepper / hot sauce which is commonly used as a way to relate the level of capsaicin contained within said chili.As a comparative example, the scoville rating of the habanero is registered at 350 000 Scoville Heat Units.The following 4 chili’s are probably more well-known.Chili’s such as Bhut Jolokia and the Gambia chili (known as African Habanero) have been gaining in popularity worldwide as chili enthusiasts search for an ever-increasing selection of chili’s for taste options.The Bhut Jolokia in Africa are usually of the red or chocolate variety.The Piri Piri pepper (Capsicum Frutescens) – often referred to as the African Birds Eye or African Red Devil chili has a scoville rating of 100 000 – 350 000.The Yellow African Fatalii Chili Pepper (also Capsicum Chinense) has a scoville rating of 125 000 – 325 000.The Gambia, or African Habanero (member of the Capsicum Chinense family) has a scoville rating of 200 000 – 300 000.Gastronomy tourism, or food tourism, put simply is the practice of touring for culinary, or food, experiences unique to the destination region or area.One of the most popular forms of sustainable gastronomy tourism is for the traveller to actively participate with the gathering, preparing and cooking of the food item.For the chili enthusiasts that would like to incorporate any of these 5 of Africa’s hottest chili’s, we are including an adaptation of a no-cook, chili sauce recipe:. .
How Recovering African Crops Could Address Lost Cuisine
In a study Clementina conducted on the effect of aerial yam on postprandial levels of diabetic outpatients at University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, her findings demonstrated that the yam “had immense potential to be hypoglycemic and would successfully feature prominently in the diets of diabetic patients and improve diversity.”.Today, some research organizations and national archives list some African food sources as weeds, deepening the undesirability of these options.International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) highlights a growing area for yams that includes Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.On the other hand, okra provides pods, seeds and leaves, all of which come loaded with vitamin A, B6, folic acid, protein, calcium, iron, and other minerals.Yet, many African native food plants have received little or no attention in terms of mainstream scientific and agricultural research and promotion.In the most extreme and blistering climatic conditions of Kalahari Desert, there are tens of documented food crop species that have been used by natives in Namibia and Botswana. .
Traces of pepper fruits have been found in prehistoric remains in Peru and Mexico, and the plants were widely grown in Central and South America by various pre-Columbian civilizations.The plants become woody as the growing season progresses and bear simple, alternately arranged leaves with smooth margins.Hot peppers derive their pungency from capsaicin, a substance characterized by acrid vapours and burning taste. .
A Brief History of Chili Peppers from 6,100 Year Ago to Today
The history of the chili pepper is one of the more interesting examples of a simple, powerful food with a complex story.There are several origination theories flagging Brazil, Mexico, and other parts of South America as “the” spot for where chilies came from.Scientists believe that birds are mainly responsible for the spread of wild chili peppers out of their nuclear origination areas, with domestication via Mesoamerican populations thereafter.But first: why does eating chili peppers make your mouth burn?The burning and pain you feel when you eat a chili pepper is caused by a compound called capsaicin.The working theory is that eating chilies gives us the same sensation as if we were to actually eat too-hot bite of food, hence the burn.The TRPV1 receptor signalling may make us feel like perhaps our mouths are on actual fire, but scientists say there isn’t any tissue damage.In a piece entitled, “On Capsaicin: Why Do We Love to Eat Hot Peppers?” they note:.Unlike most foods humans are accustomed to eating, the chili pepper causes actual pain when ingested.In “The Complicated Evolution of the Spicy Chili Pepper,” Harvard’s Cat Adams writes that scientists found that while certain mammals avoid spicy plants, birds do not, attributing this finding to the fact that birds lack the receptor to feel the “capsaicin burn,” whereas mammals have them just like we do.So birds won’t feel any feel pain from eating even the spiciest of chilies, allowing their seeds to flourish.Now, back to the history of chili peppers….As we know, Columbus didn’t find black peppercorns or a spice route to Asia.By the time Columbus made it to the New World, chili peppers were already fully domesticated by the Indigenous population.Despite the fact that he brought the aji back to Spain, it was the Portuguese and their broad trade routes that are more responsible for the rapid adoption of chili peppers to large swaths of the world.The history of Spain and Portugal are thoroughly intertwined, though, and Spanish merchants are also responsible for spreading the chili pepper to parts of Asia.annuum) rather than the South American pepper that Columbus called pimiento and transported to Spain, the C.chinense pepper.And then there was Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama who discovered a route from South America around the Cape of Good Hope to Africa and India in 1498, setting a path for the chili pepper to leave the Brazilian colony and fan out to the world.Another route of trade started at Diu, which juts out of the west coast of India.Anyone who has sobbed into a plate of Sichuan food knows how important they are to that region of China.But for North America the chili peppers came up through Mexico, right?I assumed the same, that chilies simply came up the relatively reasonable distance from Mexico to the United States.These trade routes have their indigenous base in the Southern Valleys of Mexico where capsicum chiles were grown.So chilies made it to North America via pre-Columbus, smaller scale trade routes.This dissemination also includes via the trade routes for slavery, a theory mentioned in most of the books I’ve read about chilies.The theory states that while the chili pepper was available in the Southern United States via prior trade routes and Indigenous cuisine, it became widespread in during the slave trade.From from Central America and the Caribbean to Spain, from Brazil to West Africa and India, and back again to North America via the slave trade, the circuitous popularity of the chili pepper seemed to me worthy of its own post.Per a 2019 piece in Bloomberg, beer infused with chilies is the next big thing.Further reading about the history of chili peppers.Books about Chiles and the Cuisines that Use them.but also history and recipes from around the world.Food: A History of Taste, by Paul Freedman.Sweet foods, spicy foods, and everything in between – from antiquity to the present day – the book covers not just history but also food etiquette and today’s taste preferences.Food Art Featuring Chilies and Foods that Use Them. .