Saturday, November 30, 2013

Chili Pepper History

Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BC. There is archaeological evidence at sites located in southwestern Ecuador that chili peppers were domesticated more than 6000 years ago, and were one of the first self-pollinating crops cultivated in Central and South America.

Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter them (in the Caribbean), and called them "peppers" because they, like black and white pepper of the Piper genus known in Europe, have a spicy hot taste unlike other foodstuffs. Upon their introduction into Europe, chilis were grown as botanical curiosities in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries. But the monks experimented with the chili culinary potential and discovered that their pungency offered a substitute for black peppercorns, which at the time were so costly that they were used as legal currency in some countries.
Chilies were cultivated around the globe after Columbus. Diego Álvarez Chanca, a physician on Columbus' second voyage to the West Indies in 1493, brought the first chili peppers to Spain and first wrote about their medicinal effects in 1494.
The spread of chili peppers to Asia was most likely a natural consequence of its introduction to Portuguese traders (Lisbon was a common port of call for Spanish ships sailing to and from the Americas) who, aware of its trade value, would have likely promoted its commerce in the Asian spice trade routes then dominated by Portuguese and Arab traders.

There is a verifiable correlation between the chili pepper geographical dissemination and consumption in Asia and the presence of Portuguese traders, India and southeast Asia being obvious examples.
The chili pepper features heavily in the cuisine of the Goan region of India, which was the site of a Portuguese colony (e.g., vindaloo, an Indian interpretation of a Portuguese dish). Chili peppers journeyed from India, through Central Asia and Turkey, to Hungary, where it became the national spice in the form of paprika.
An alternate, although not so plausible account (no obvious correlation between its dissemination in Asia and Spanish presence or trade routes), defended mostly by Spanish historians was that from Mexico, at the time a Spanish colony, chili peppers spread into their other colony the Philippines and from there to IndiaChinaIndonesia. To Japan, it was brought by the Portuguese missionaries in 1542, and then later, it was brought to Korea.

In 1995 archaeobotanist Hakon Hjelmqvist published an article in Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift claiming there was evidence for the presence of chili peppers in Europe in pre-Columbian times. According to Hjelmqvist, archaeologists at a dig in St Botulf in Lund found a Capsicum frutescens in a layer from the 13th century. Hjelmqvist thought it came from Asia. Hjelmqvist also said that Capsicum was described by the Greek Theophrastus (370–286 BCE) in his Historia Plantarum, and in other sources. Around the first century CE, the Roman poet Martialis (Martial) mentioned "Piperve crudum" (raw pepper) in Liber XI, XVIII, allegedly describing them as long and containing seeds (a description which seems to fit chili peppers - but could also fit the long pepper, which was well known to ancient Romans).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chili Pepper spelling and usage

The three primary spellings are chilichile and chilli, all of which are recognized by dictionaries.

  • Chili is widely used in the United States and Canada.  However, it is also commonly used as a short name for chili con carne (literally chili with meat). Most versions are seasoned with chili powder, which can refer to pure dried, ground chili peppers, or to a mixture containing other spices.

  • 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. In the Southwest United States (particularly northern New Mexico), chile also denotes a thick, spicy, un-vinegared sauce, available in red and green varieties, and served over the local food.

  • 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.  Chilli (and its plural chillies) is the most common spelling in Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and South Africa

The name of the plant bears no relation to Chile, the country, which is named after the Quechua chin ("cold"), tchili ("snow"), or chilli ("where the land ends").   Chile, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are some of the Spanish-speaking countries where chilis are known as ají, a word of Taíno origin. There is also some disagreement on the use of the word pepper for chilis because pepper originally referred to the genus Piper, notCapsicum; however this usage is included in English dictionaries, including the Oxford English Dictionary (sense 2b of pepper) and Merriam-Webster.  The word pepper is commonly used in the botanical and culinary fields in the names of different types of chili peppers.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chili Peppers used as crop defense

Conflicts between farmers and elephants have long been widespread in Africa and Asian countries, where pachyderms nightly destroy crops, raid grain houses, and sometimes kill people. Farmers have found the use of chilies effective in crop defense against elephants.   Elephants don't like capsaicin, the chemical in chilies that makes them hot. 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 pungent fruit around valuable crops, framers create a buffer zone through which the elephants are reluctant to pass. Chilly-Dung Bombs are also used for this purpose. They are bricks made of mixing dung and chili, and are burned, creating a noxious smoke that keeps hungry elephants out of farmers fields. This can lessen dangerous physical confrontation between people and elephants.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Decor with a SPICY twist

YES, it has a chili pepper on it.
I am showing it off because I love the ghosts and skull/bones in the background.
Sooooo Halloweeny!


Chili Pepper Nutritional Value

A Chili Pepper a day, keeps the doctor away.
*Take THAT Affordable Health Care Act!*

Red chilies contain large amounts of vitamin C and small amounts of carotene (provitamin A). Yellow and especially green chilies (which are essentially unripe fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. In addition, peppers are a good source of most B vitamins, and vitamin B6 in particular. They are very high in potassiummagnesium, and iron. Their very high vitamin C content can also substantially increase the uptake of non-heme iron from other ingredients in a meal, such as beans and grains.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chili pepper leaves in cuisine

The leaves of every species of Capsicum are edible. Though 
almost all other Solanaceous crops have toxins in their leaves, chile peppers do not. The leaves, which are mildly bitter and nowhere near as hot as the fruit, are cooked as greens in Filipino cuisine, where they are called dahon ng sili (literally "chili leaves"). They are used in the chicken soup, tinola.   In Korean cuisine, the leaves may be used in kimchi.  In Japanese cuisine, the leaves are cooked as greens, and also cooked in tsukudani style for preservation.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

5 Things you didn't know about Srirracha

Hubby's ketchup 

You pass it in the grocery store and see it at restaurants all the time. You might not be able to read all the words on the bottle, but you know what's in it: Sriracha.

The hot sauce in the clear bottle with the rooster on the side is incredibly popular. Quartz recently profiled Huy Fong's founder, David Tran, and learned that Tran is a bit of an accidental entrepreneur. 

Tran, 68, founded Huy Fong 33 years ago with no intention of it going global. Quartz reported that he simply wanted to give V
ietnamese immigrants "a hot sauce worthy of their pho soup."

He did, and then some. Last year, the company racked up $60 million in sales
 and posted a double-digit sales growth percentage. He told Quartz that he has never once raised the wholesale price,
despite inflation having more than tripled the price of food since 1980.

Oh, and Tran doesn't advertise.

Below, five things you may not have known about Tran and his creation.

1. Why the rooster? According to a New York Times article, Tran chose the rooster as the sauce's logo because it is his astrological sign in the Chinese zodiac.

2. Why is it so good? A question that would no doubt flatter Tran, who, according to Quartz, loves reading fan mail. The answer, according to the company's official site, is a bit of letdown, though: High quality ingredients.

3. And how do you pronounce it? It's pronounced, 
SIR-rotch-ah, according to Thrillist. The term is a generic one (like ketchup or mustard), named for the Vietnamese town where it was supposedly created.  Huy Fong, by the way, was the name of the ship that Tran came to the U.S. on.

4. Is it true there's a documentary in the works? Glad you asked. It is true. The project was funded via Kickstarter and is set to hit film festivals this fall. Filmmaker Griffin Hammond calls it "an anthem for sriracha lovers."

5. It's been to spaceA photo from a 2003 mission aboard the International Space Station features two astronauts, 
Yuri I. Malenchenko and Edward T. Lu. See the bottle with the green cap floating by? That's the real stuff. Take that, imitators.

Fall Harvest

Fall Harvest
What would you do with a selection like this?
We would add onion and cilantro with a bit of vinegar... 
and giant bag of taco chips.  

Evolutionary Advantages to Chili Peppers

Birds do not have the same sensitivity to capsaicin, because it targets a specific pain receptor in mammals. Chili peppers are eaten by birds living in the chili peppers' natural range. 

 The seeds of the peppers are distributed by the birds that drop the seeds while eating the pods, and the seeds pass through the digestive tract unharmed. This relationship may have promoted the evolution of the protective capsaicin. 

 Products based on this substance have been sold to treat the seeds in bird feeders to deter squirrels and other mammalian vermin without also deterring birds. Capsaicin is also a defense mechanism against microbial fungi that invade through punctures made in the outer skin by various insects.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Honorary St. Louis Baseball Contract

Does anyone else have one of these?
It is an honorary contract from the St. Louis Cardinals made out to me. 
I received it when i was born in February of 1967. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series that year with Red Schoendienst and Stan Musial.
Both of their signatures are on here, although I am not sure they officially signed it.
Did anyone else get one of these or am I special? Not the window licking special, tho ; )

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Bring on the spicy hot cocoa

a chilly fall walk..

and a little something to warm you up.  
Spiced Hot Cocoa
Now for a bonfire... 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Winter chili plant migration

Moved the jalapeno and habanero plants into the atrium.  
Threw in the aloe for giggles.
This is the best they will look through the winter.  Hopefully some of the green fruits will still ripen.  
More to come!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

For the gentlemen only ;)

C'mon boys, you know this one is toooooo hot for you!

Scorpion Chili Pepper

For the ladies only ;)

Ladies... I bet this is the hottest 3 inches you can find. 
350,000 Scoville Units in 3 inches

Habanero Chili Pepper 

A great article on where the world hottest chili's originate

The 17 tribes of Nagaland are united, historically, by an enthusiasm for heads. The Nagas: Hill Peoples of Northeast India—my reading matter on the two-hour drive from Dimapur to Kohima, in the state of Nagaland —contains dozens of references to head-taking but only one mention of the item that has brought me here: the Naga King Chili (a.k.a. Bhut Jolokia), often ranked the world’s hottest. “In the Chang village of Hakchang,” the anthropologist J. H. Hutton
is quoted as saying in 1922, “...women whose blood relations on the male side have taken a head may cook the head, with chilies, to get the flesh off.” Hutton’s use of “cook” would seem to be a reference to Chang culinary practice. Only on rereading did I realize the Chang weren’t eating the chilies—or the flesh, for that matter—but using them to clean the skull.

Another chili pepper presentation idea

If you could put a little cup inside of these to hold any condiments or dips, that would be an adorable way to decorate a fall snacking table.

Hot chili presentation

Such a pretty presentation.  
Only missing the ranch!
I could so see this on a glass platter with various dips and cheeses on each point.  You would have to pay me to bite into some of these.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top 10 reasons for canning

Red Jalapeno Jelly in the making. Makes great Christmas Gifts!

Red Jalapeno pepper jelly in the making.  
Doesnt look like much here, but lemme tell you... This stuff is sensational.  
Who wants to be on my Christmas list for a jar of this

Chili Pepper Gummies.

Chili Pepper gummies.  
I bet these would be sooo yummy!
Would you try one?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Chili peppers as the cure-all?

The Mesoamericans used chili peppers to treat severe headaches, relieve cold and flu symptoms, and to treat tooth aches.  

Beautiful Red Jalapeno's

Red goodness from my deck garden.  
These were made into jalapeno jelly, but there are plenty on the plant for another harvest.  
A lot of people have asked me about my jelly, and if I sell it or not. 
I have sold it in the past.  This is my first year with only one plant.  Normally we have 5-10 of these plants in order to make the jelly needed to keep up with the demand.  This is our first year living in the city.  Our deck is 8x10 and with growing so many other chili's we just didn't have the room.  
Comment here if you might be interested in purchasing jalapeno jelly or know someone who is.  
I am trying to get an idea for next year and to see if there is still demand.  

Chili Pepper Ice Cubes

Now this is one "Chilly" item!
What a cool idea for the chili pepper head in your family.  
Just fill with water and freeze.  Keeps drinks cold without diluting.  

Monday, September 30, 2013

Habanero's from fresh picked to drying

Fresh picked habby's.....
Sliced and layered on a cookie sheet.  
Next into an oven on the lowest setting available or 100 degrees, over night, with the door cracked.
I highly recommend leaving a window open as the fumes are pretty sharp and pungent.  
The next morning you can put them in a blender or what we like to use.. an old coffee grinder to make into powder or flakes.  Grind longer for powder.  Now, here is a bit of advice... Let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes before lifting the lid.  
The powder will billow right into your face and you will be sneezing and coughing uncontrollably.  Just letting it rest makes this step much more safe.     

What is a Scoville, or Scoville unit?

A lot of folks have asked me about the word scoville.  How did I come up with it?  What does it mean?
Basically it is the measurement of heat in a chili pepper.  
The following is from Wikipedia and describes it very well.
Also a Scoville chart at the end of the page
The Scoville scale is the measurement of the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers.
The number of Scoville heat units (SHU)[1] indicates the amount of capsaicin present per unit of dry mass. Capsaicin is a chemical compoundthat stimulates chemoreceptor nerve endings in the skin, especially the mucous membranes.
The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville. His method, devised in 1912, is known as the Scoville Organoleptic Test.[2] A modern method to directly measure capsaicinoid content in peppers is high-performance liquid chromatography.

In Scoville's method, a measured amount of alcohol extract of the capsaicin oil of the dried pepper is produced, after which a solution of sugar and water is added incrementally until the "heat" is just barely detectable by a panel of (usually five) tasters; the degree of dilution gives its measure on the Scoville scale. Thus, a sweet pepper or a bell pepper, containing no capsaicin at all, has a Scoville rating of zero, meaning no heat detectable.[3] The hottest chilis, such as habaneros and nagas, have a rating of 200,000 or more, indicating their extract must be diluted over 200,000 times before the capsaicin presence is undetectable.[citation needed] The greatest weakness of the Scoville Organoleptic Test is its imprecision, because it relies on human subjectivity. Tasters are given only one sample per session. Results vary widely, up to 50%, between laboratories.[4]

Spice heat is usually measured by a method that uses high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). This identifies and measures the concentration of heat-producing chemicals. The measurements are used in a mathematical formula that weighs them according to their relative capacity to produce a sensation of heat. This method yields results, not in Scoville units, but in American Spice Trade Association (ASTA) pungency units. A measurement of one part capsaicin per million corresponds to about 15 Scoville units, and the published method says that ASTA pungency units can be multiplied by 15 and reported as Scoville units. Scoville units are a measure for capsaicin content per unit of dry mass.[6][7][8] This conversion is approximate, and spice experts Donna R. Tainter and Anthony T. Grenis say that there is consensus that it gives results about 20–40% lower than the actual Scoville method would have given.

Scoville heat unitsExamples
1,500,000–2,000,000Trinidad Moruga Scorpion[9]
855,000–1,463,700Naga Viper pepper,[10] Infinity Chilli,[11] Bhut Jolokia chili pepper,[12][13] Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper,[14] Bedfordshire Super Naga,[15] 7-Pot Chili
350,000–580,000Red Savina habanero[16]
100,000–350,000Habanero chili,[17] Scotch bonnet pepper,[17] Datil pepperRocoto, Piri Piri Ndungu, Madame Jeanette, Peruvian White Habanero,[18] Jamaican hot pepper,[19] Guyana Wiri Wiri, Fatalii [20]
50,000–100,000Byadgi chilliBird's eye chili (aka. Thai Chili Pepper),[21] Malagueta pepper,[21] Chiltepin pepperPiri piri (African bird's eye)Pequin pepper,[21]Siling Labuyo (native chili cultivar from the Philippines)
30,000–50,000Guntur chilliCayenne pepperAjí pepper,[17] Tabasco pepper, Cumari pepper (Capsicum Chinese)
10,000–23,000Serrano pepperPeter pepperAleppo pepper
3,500–8,000Espelette pepperJalapeño pepperChipotle,[17][22] Guajillo pepperNew Mexican peppers,[23] Hungarian wax pepperTabasco sauce
1,000–2,500Anaheim pepper (cultivar of New Mexican peppers),[23] Poblano pepperRocotillo pepperPeppadewSriracha sauce
100–900PimentoPeperonciniBanana pepperCubanelle
No significant heatBell pepperAji dulce