ALL ABOUT “HOT PEPPERS”
What are hot peppers? What makes them hot? Can we measure the different levels of heat? Why do we like them? Are there health benefits? What peppers are available at The Parsley Porch? This blog will answer these questions.
The Parsley Porch has dozens of peppers and spice blends that contain pepper. While all peppers have some degree of spiciness or at least a flavor profile there are some chemical differences. In a previous blog, pepper in the form of peppercorns which are usually ground contain a chemical called piperine which provides a different type of “heat” which is flavorful but much more temporary. This blog is about the different chili peppers, many of which are listed below in the illustration. There can be many different names for the same chili pepper based on language, culture, preparation and geography. Chili peppers with the exception of Sweet Bell Peppers which have no heat, have varying amounts of a chemical compound called . It is the amount of capsaicin that a chili pepper has that determines how hot it is. The heat a pepper has can be scientifically quantified using “Scoville Heat Units” aka SHU. (Allow me to change to a lab coat and the former biochemistry teacher will explain this precise method.)
To determine the # of Scoville Heat Units, an alcohol extract of capsaicin oil from a dried pepper is mixed with a solution of water and sugar to the point where a panel of human taste-testers can't detect the heat of the pepper. (Taking the lab coat off) Simply put, the bigger the number, the hotter the pepper. The letter “K” is often a prefix in front of the number which stands for “kilo” meaning 1000X. Cayenne pepper is a staple of the spice cabinet for many people that like cooking. Most grocery store cayenne is around 30 KHU, adding heat in a pleasant way. I have seen brownie recipes with small amounts of cayenne adding a “bite” to the chocolate brownie recipe. However there can be many heat levels for cayenne peppers. At The Parsley Porch, we have 3 different levels of heat for a cayenne pepper. In other words, the SAME flavor with very different levels of heat. For example, our Parsley Porch Mombasa has on the label 90 KHU which means 90,000 Scoville Heat Units. Translation: it’s pretty hot! But looking at the illustration below, it is only about 70% up the illustrated pepper in terms of heat. Another cayenne we offer is African Bird, having the classic cayenne flavor but with a Scoville rating of 160 KHU! THAT’S HOT! It is over 5x the heat level of our basic cayenne which most people consider hot.
Our customers like hot peppers because they add a certain satisfaction and flavor experience that is beyond normal sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Hot peppers can offer a maximum taste bud stimulation for a minimum calorie consumption. Fiery peppers pack major health perks. In terms of vitamin C, they beat oranges 3 to 1. They're also stuffed with vitamins A, B, and E. Some studies suggest capsaicin acts as an antioxidant to protect your cells and helps tamp down inflammation. Researchers have shown that capsaicin can improve heart health, prevent diabetes, and prevent cancer. Hot peppers can even lower blood pressure and make you feel less hungry.
Besides, the 3 types of Cayenne, The Parsley Porch has MANY other types of peppers and offers dozens of spice blends that have varying amount of hot peppers in the recipes. As every one of our valued customers have unique palates, I always recommend adding small amounts of peppers and then taste and sample…Adding more as you see fit.
Here are some of the other peppers and blends offered at The Parsley Porch for your enjoyment. Don’t over look our 3 delicious Mexican blends… FAJITA…SANTA FE….TACO…while all having some similarities are all deliciously different!
Chili Powder, including the HOT blend
Ancho Chili Powder
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