Cultivars of the plant produce fruits in different colors, including red, yellow, orange, green, white, and purple. Preferred growing conditions for bell peppers include warm, moist soil in a temperature range of 21 to 29 °C (70 to 84 °F).At that time, black pepper (peppercorns), from the unrelated plant Piper nigrum originating from India, was a highly prized condiment.The name pepper was applied in Europe to all known spices with a hot and pungent taste and was therefore extended to genus Capsicum when it was introduced from the Americas.The most commonly used name of the plant family, chile, is of Mexican origin, from the Nahuatl word chilli.The bell pepper is called "パプリカ" (paprika) or "ピーマン" (pîman, from French piment pronounced with a silent 't') in Japan.Other colors include brown, white, lavender, and dark purple, depending on the variety.The bell pepper is the only member of the genus Capsicum that does not produce capsaicin, a lipophilic chemical that can cause a strong burning sensation when it comes in contact with mucous membranes.This absence of capsaicin is due to a recessive form of a gene that eliminates the compound and, consequently, the "hot" taste usually associated with the rest of the genus Capsicum.A raw green bell pepper is 94% water, 5% carbohydrates, and negligible fat and protein (table).Raw green peppers are rich sources of vitamin C, containing 97% of the Daily Value (DV) in a 100 gram reference amount.China is the world's largest producer of bell and chili peppers, followed by Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, and the United States. .
Chili Pepper (Capsicum annuum) · Hünkar Beğendi
A wooduct illustration of chili peppers with added watercolors from De Historia Stirpium commentarii insignes.Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter the chili pepper, which was essential to the New World diet, “as indispensably necessary to the natives as salt to the whites” .Diego Alvarez Chanca, a physician who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage to the West Indies in 1493, brought the chili pepper back to Spain and wrote about its medicinal effects .They acquired the chili pepper from Spain and brought it to Portugal and the Cape Verde Islands, and then to West Africa and India.By 1512, the chili pepper was firmly established in Portugal’s Indian colonies, and then spread through Central Asia and Turkey to Hungary.The heat in the chili pepper comes from capsaicin and other related chemicals, together called capsaicinoids, which create a burning sensation.Chili peppers were not initially incorporated into European cuisine, probably because hot ingredients were not valued in Europe as in other places.These properties had been utilized previously; the Mayans used chili peppers to treat coughs and sore throats, and the Aztecs used them to relieve toothaches .A woodcut illustration of the chili pepper appears in De Historia Stirpium comentarii insignes (Notable Commentaries on the History of Plants), written by Leonhart Fuchs and published in 1542.Three individuals created the woodcuts for Fuchs’ herbal: Albrecht Meyer drew the plants from observation, Heinrich Fullmaurer transferred these drawings to woodblocks, and Vitus Rudolph Speckle cut these blocks and printed the final illustrations.While the quality and accuracy of the woodcuts were revolutionary, Fuchs’ descriptions of medicinal properties drew heavily from the ancient writings of Dioscorides, Galen, and Pliny .While the primary intended audience of Fuchs’ herbal was the scientific and medical community, the fact that it was reprinted so many times and in so many languages indicates that this was also a general interest image.According to Fuchs, “a picture expresses things more surely and fixes them more deeply in the mind than the bare words of the text.” Watercolors were added by hand to the illustrations in some of the original books.The woodcut illustrations in De Historia Stirpium reveal a new emerging purpose of art in the early modern period, and a new way of conveying information about nature.While in some parts of the globe the chili pepper became a prized ingredient in local dishes, in Europe it primarily remained the focus of inquiry for scientists, medical students, and a general audience of educated Europeans.This woodcut illustrates both this scientific and educational approach that Europeans took to understanding the chili pepper, as well as how art became a mode of enabling accurate identification and discovery.Umarkar, “Chillies as Food, Spice, and Medicine: A Perspective,” International Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences, Vol.Julie Gardham, “Leonhart Fuchs, De Historia Stirpium,” Glasgow University Library Special Collections Department, last updated October 2002,
Capsaicin and related compounds known as capsaicinoids are the substances giving chili peppers their intensity when ingested or applied topically. After the Columbian Exchange, many cultivars of chili pepper spread around the world, used for both food and traditional medicine.Cultivars grown in North America and Europe are believed to all derive from Capsicum annuum, and have white, yellow, red or purple to black fruits.In 2019, the world's production of raw green chili peppers amounted to 38 million tons, with China producing half. Origins of cultivating chili peppers are traced to east-central Mexico some 6,000 years ago, although according to research by the New York Botanical Garden press in 2014, chili plants were first cultivated independently across different locations in the Americas including highland Bolivia, central Mexico, and the Amazon.Production of chillies and peppers, green – 2020 Region (Millions of tons) China 16.7 Mexico 2.8 Indonesia 2.8 Turkey 2.6 Spain 1.5 World 36.1 Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations .Capsicum chinense includes the hottest peppers such as the naga, habanero, Datil and Scotch bonnet.The substances that give chili peppers their pungency (spicy heat) when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin (8-methyl-N-vanillyl-6-nonenamide) and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.When a habanero plant is stressed, by absorbing low water for example, the concentration of capsaicin increases in some parts of the fruit. The modern method is a quantitative analysis of SHU using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to directly measure the capsaicinoid content of a chili pepper variety.Pure capsaicin is a hydrophobic, colorless, odorless, and crystalline-to-waxy solid at room temperature, and measures 16,000,000 SHU.Capsaicin is produced by the plant as a defense against mammalian predators and microbes, in particular a fusarium fungus carried by hemipteran insects that attack certain species of chili peppers, according to one study. Peppers increased the quantity of capsaicin in proportion to the damage caused by fungal predation on the plant's seeds.Ingestion of extremely hot chili pepper varieties such as the Carolina reaper can cause a condition known as "puckerbutt".The condition is characterized by severe cramps, abdominal discomfort, and intense burning of the rectum and anus during defecation of the digested chili peppers.Chilies are sometimes used whole or in large slices, by roasting, or other means of blistering or charring the skin, so as not to entirely cook the flesh beneath.In southern Mexico, mole sauce is made with dried chiles, such as ancho and chipotle peppers.In India, most households always keep a stock of fresh hot green chilies at hand, and use them to flavor most curries and dry dishes.Some notable chili-forward dishes other than the ones mentioned elsewhere in this article include arrabbiata sauce, paprikash, chiles en nogada, jerk chicken, mole poblano, nam phrik, 'nduja, sambal, and som tam.Fresh or dried chilies are often used to make hot sauce, a liquid condiment—usually bottled when commercially available—that adds spice to other dishes.Hot sauces are found in many cuisines including harissa from North Africa, chili oil from China (known as rāyu in Japan), and sriracha from Thailand.This method lets people experience extreme feelings without any significant risk of bodily harm.Capsaicin, the pungent chemical in chili peppers, is used as an analgesic in topical ointments, nasal sprays, and dermal patches to relieve pain. A 2022 review of preliminary research indicated that regular consumption of chili peppers was associated with weak evidence for a lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.Capsaicin extracted from chilies is used in pepper sprays and some tear gas formulations as a chemical irritant, for use as less-lethal weapons for control of unruly individuals or crowds.Because the elephants have a large and sensitive olfactory and nasal system, the smell of the chili causes them discomfort and deters them from feeding on the crops.By planting a few rows of the fruit around valuable crops, farmers create a buffer zone through which the elephants are reluctant to pass.They are bricks made of mixing dung and chili, and are burned, creating a noxious smoke that keeps hungry elephants out of farmers' fields.Chile is the most common Spanish spelling in Mexico and several other Latin American countries,  as well as some parts of the United States  and Canada, which refers specifically to this plant and its fruit.is the most common Spanish spelling in Mexico and several other Latin American countries, as well as some parts of the United States and Canada, which refers specifically to this plant and its fruit.Chilli was the original Romanization of the Náhuatl language word for the fruit (chīlli) and is the preferred British spelling according to the Oxford English Dictionary, although it also lists chile and chili as variants.Certain Spanish-speaking countries in South America and the Caribbean, including Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, call the peppers as ají, a word of Taíno origin. The word pepper is also commonly used in the botanical and culinary fields in the names of different types of pungent plants and their fruits. .
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. .
A Brief History of Pepper
Nonetheless, signs of an ancient pepper trade from India to Egypt have been found, including the peppercorns that had been stuffed into the nostrils of Ramses the Great (1303-1213 BC) when he was mummified.Leaving the southwestern coast of India in July with the monsoon winds, Roman sea traders brought cinnamon, incense oils and pepper to their great commercial hub in Alexandria.Under the early caliphate this Islamic network matured to encompass most of the Indian Ocean world from East Africa to the southern coast of China.To maintain their monopoly, keep their source a secret and raise the cachet (and price) of this highly prized spice, Arab traders created the fantastic myth[i] that pepper was cultivated in:.In order to harvest the pepper, the trees have to be burned, driving the snakes away and in the process turning the originally white fruit black.Sharp traders, “the Venetians marked up the price of spices an average of 40 percent during the fifteenth century.” Not alone in gouging the consumer, the Catalans of Barcelona extolled a 25% profit on the pepper they imported.This implausible eastern meandering shifts suddenly and more realistically westward in the fifth and sixth stages when the “heathen Mohammedans” (“heyden machmet”) from Aden buy the spices, which then pass through Cairo.the remaining steps involve the distribution of spices throughout Europe via Venice, Frankfurt, Bruges, and finally to retailers in Germany.The Portuguese failed to exert political and military authority in the areas where pepper was produced, and over the course of the 16th century, slowly lost control of its trade.If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:. .
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. .
HISTORY OF THE CHILI PEPPER, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS
When the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria dropped anchor in San Salvador, the Native Americans had known the spicy fruit for at least 7,000 years.Upon returning from his second journey (in 1493), Columbus brought back chili peppers as a gift to the kings of Spain, who set to achieve considerable income through the sale of this new spice, appreciated by the aristocratic palates.The ‘Indian pepper’ soon found a place in the old Europe: only 70 years after its arrival in Spain, botanist Andrea Mattioli spoke of it as “a rather common plant”.Doctors and university researchers agree that it prevents cardiovascular diseases, purifies the blood, and is useful to fight obesity, depression, and alcohol addiction; it has decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties, helps digest, and protects the liver. .