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Hot chili peppers

Plant name: Capsicum frutescens

Indian name: Mirchi

Chile, chili, chilli and chillies are ambiguous terms that generally all mean the same thing.

Cayenne powder is another term for chili powder.

The fruit can be eaten either raw or cooked and is famous for its fiery hot flavour which is concentrated along the top of the pod. The stem end of the pod has glands which produce the capsaicin which then flows down through to the tip.

The white flesh that surrounds the seeds contains the highest concentrations of capsaicin. Removing the seeds and (usually white) inner membranes is a very effective way of reducing the heat of a chili.

If you are going to be handling very hot chillies, it may be a very good idea to use rubber or latex gloves to prevent transferring the juice to your eyes or other sensitive parts of the body.

If you burn your mouth from very hot chillies, drink some milk or yogurt because it will relieve the symptoms.

Freezing fresh chillies is a good way to store them for later use. They can be removed from the freezer and will defrost whilst being chopped. I would definitely recommend gloves for this as they release much more juice when defrosted.

They grow very well on a sunny windowsill or in a conservatory and they look great. We still have a box in the freezer, full from last year's harvest.

Chili powder is produced from dried and powdered chillies. Chili flakes are dried and crumbled chillies and often include the seeds.

Heat measurement of chillies

The Scoville scale is a measurement of the spicy heat or piquancy of a chili pepper.

Chilli sauces

If you are looking here, then you may be thinking about having a go at making your own sauce, so you may find our chili sauce section of interest!

Chilli recipes

A massive category containing recipes with lots of chili.

Specific chili types and varieties

Find recipes that contain 'Chillies'

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