CHILIS

May 27, 2019 | posted in: | by

Chili peppers, despite their fiery “hotness”, are one of very popular spices known for their medicinal and health benefiting properties. The chili, actually, is a fruit pod from the plant belonging to the nightshade family (Solanaceae), within the genus, capsicum.

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Description

Chili peppers, despite their fiery “hotness”, are one of very popular spices known for their medicinal and health benefiting properties. The chili, actually, is a fruit pod from the plant belonging to the nightshade family (Solanaceae), within the genus, capsicum.

Scientific name: Capsicum annum. The chili plant is native to Central American region where it was employed as one the chief spice ingredients in Mexican cuisine for centuries. It was later introduced to the rest of the world by Spanish and Portuguese explorers during 16th and 17th centuries, and today grown widely in many parts of the world as an important commercial crop.

Several cultivars of chili peppers are grown all around the world. Depending on the cultivar type, their hotness ranges from mild, fleshy (Mexican bell peppers) to fiery, tiny, Nag Jalokiya chili peppers of Indian subcontinent. The hotness of chili is measured in “Scoville heat units” (SHU). On the Scoville scale, a sweet bell pepper scores 0, a jalapeño pepper around 2,500-4,000 units, and a Mexican habañeros may have 200,000 to 500,000 units.

Chilies have a strong spicy taste that comes to them from the active alkaloid compounds: capsaicin, capsanthin and capsorubin.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHILIS

Chili pepper contains an impressive list of plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.

Chilies contain health benefiting an alkaloid compound in them, capsaicin, which gives them strong spicy pungent character.

Fresh chili peppers, red and green, are rich source of vitamin-C. 100 g fresh chilies provide about 143.7 µg or about 240% of RDA Chili peppers have amazingly high levels of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 g provides

They are also good in other antioxidants which helps protect the body from injurious effects of free radicals generated during stress, diseases conditions.

Chilies contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.

Chilies are also good in B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that human body requires them from external sources to replenish.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

Dry chilies can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place, inside airtight containers for many months; and can be milled to powder using mixer/grinder as and when required. Powdered chili pepper should be stored in cool place inside an airtight container.

USES

Chili peppers contain chemical compound capsaicin. Capsaicin and its co-compounds used in the preparation of ointments, rubs and tinctures for their astringent, counter-irritant and analgesic properties.

These formulations have been in use in the treatment of arthritic pain, post-herpetic neuropathic pain, sore muscles, etc.

Dried chili powder is an important ingredient in the spice mix known as curry powder in many Asian countries

Hot chilies used as a condiment in the preparation of soups, chili sauce, spicy water, vinegar-spice mix, etc.

Chilies, soaked in yogurt and then dried under sunlight, are used as condiment side-dish which served during dinner time in south-Indian states.

 

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