Random Pepper Facts

Chili peppers are thought to be among the earliest of cultivated plants in Central America. Evidence suggests they were under cultivation at least as as early as 7,500 B.C.

Mexico and northern Central America is thought to be the center of origin of Capsicum annuum, and South America of Capsicum frutescens.

Chili Peppers were introduced to South Asia in the 16th century by Portuguese and Spanish explorers via trade routes from South America. They were then quickly assimilated into the local cuisines.

Worldwide production of peppers - including green and chili peppers - totaled 31,901,846 tons in 2009. China leads the way producing 16,267,061 tons in 2009, followed by Mexico (2,301,562 tons) , Turkey (2,057,441 tons) , Indonesia (1,223,167 tons) , Spain (1,133,103 tons) and the United States (1,037,880 tons).

Worldwide, production of peppers is increasing. China alone saw an increase in production of 54% since 2000.

A chemical called capsaicin is responsible for the hotness of peppers. Capsaicin is a colorless, pungent, crystalline compound, with a chemical formula of C18,H27,NO3. It is thought plants evolved capsaicin to protect the fruit from being eaten!

In 1912, American Pharmacist Wilbur Scoville developed a method known as the "Scoville Organoleptic Test" to measure the heat of peppers. They were measured using "Scoville Heat Units". Today, the capsaicin present can be directly measured via chromatography.

In Southern India, it is customary to hang a few chilies with a lemon over the threshold of a residence to ward off evil.

1 out of every 4 people on the earth eat chilies every day

Chile peppers are cholesterol free, low in sodium and calories, rich in Vitamins A and C, and a good source of folic acid, potassium and Vitamin E. Also, ounce per ounce, green chilies have more vitamin C than citrus fruits

The Chili has been used as a folk remedy for multiple maladies over the centuries. The Mayans rubbed hot peppers on their gums help with toothaches. The Incas thought eyesight was improved by eating chilies. Mexicans use chilies as a hangover cure.

In general, the smaller the chili pepper, the hotter it is.

The Chile is one of the official state vegetables of New Mexico (the other is the pinto bean). Not surprisingly, New Mexicans eat more chili peppers per capita than residents of any other state.

Hot Peppers burning your mouth? Do not drink water- capsaicin which is an oil, will not mix with water but instead, will simply spread it around. Instead, drink milk.

When spicy foods are consumed, the common reaction of the body is to sweat. This is thought to be why chili peppers are so popular in hot climates.

Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hot peppers on their estates.

Chili peppers are thought to inhibit the growth of some pathogenic bacteria found in food and also increase the body's metabolism

The hottest part of a pepper is the placental material surrounding the seeds. The seeds themselves are not hot, but capsaicin gets on the surface of the seeds frequently.

It is believed the effect of extremely hot peppers on the pain receptors in your mouth causes the brain to release endorphins. This causes a feeling of well-being and may even be very mildly addictive!

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