CHILI  DICTIONARY and the REAPER


CAROLINA REAPER WORLDS HOTTEST PEPPER!

MULTI - CULTURAL PHENOM

Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the world 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 is one of the first cultivated crops in the Central and South Americas that is self-pollinating.

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 chilis' 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.

From Mexico, at the time the Spanish colony that controlled commerce with Asia, chili peppers spread rapidly into the Philippines and then to India, China, Indonesia, Korea and Japan. They were incorporated into the local cuisines.


TODAY
Most Indian Restaurants use predominantly Long thin green cayenne or finger chillies, they have a good taste and high heat level and can be added chopped, sliced or whole as required. In most Indian food, Chili peppers gives the curry its heat and can be used in whole fresh form, chili powder, whole or crushed dried chilies or as chili sauce or paste.  

In Jamaican dishes the Scottish Bonnet is the key to "Jerk Chicken". As well as heat, chilies can add some subtle dimensions of flavour which can be dramatically different from one chili to the next and from one intestine to another.  Habanero aka Scotch bonnet chilies have a beautiful buttery, oaky and vanilla tones but are so hot that most people can’t really take them.  here is the solution. 

Sliced in half, de-pithed and de-seeded, cooked they are tolerable by western standards, undercook and you need a fire extinguisher.  In Thai food chili's are life itself.  Nam phrik are Thai chili pastes, similar to the Indonesian and Malaysian sambals. Each region has its own special versions. The wording”Nam phrik” is used by Thais to describe any paste containing chilies used for dipping. “Dum phrik” is used to describe a westerner who eats the paste raw....


MORE….MUST READ

This is the Bible of Chili’s and has one of the best Chili charts with pictures and explanations of what you need to know before the fire department comes to your home and you were accused of trying to shut your husband or wife up once and for all.  A really inclusive and well done website.
  http://www.clovegarden.com/ingred/chili.html 


CHILI WARS…HOTHOTTERHOTTEST...


THE SCOTCH BONNET - QUEEN OF PEPPERS - VERY POPULAR

The Jamaicans, and several other Caribbean islands do heat with the Scotch Bonnet, a cute little pepper (probably one of the prettiest) that can remove your esophagus while you are attempting to put the fire out with a Jamaican Red Stripe Beer. 

The clue is the puddle on the floor where it ate a hole straight down your body where your tongue used to be.  You won't be laughing after one of these. See the page on Chilis to see where they are in the Chili world.  Any thing hotter could do really do severe damage, notice I said damage not discomfort.

Scotch Bonnets can cause extreme pain if they come in contact with your eyes. Be sure to wear protective latex gloves, glasses, even a mask while handling the chiles and the jerk paste if you are handling a decent amount, like at our Jamaican Festival and dont rub your eyes.  

I am dead serious about this. I usually cut the Bonnet stem and top off, cut into fours, discard any and all seeds or membranes, rinse the pieces and dice or mince wearing surgical gloves. Many times if one or two for a dish, I will do it under a running faucet. 

THEY WERE WARNED
For the two and a half years I lived and worked in Jamaica developing a rental vehicle business for tourists, visiting Montego Bay arriving by plane or those on Cruise ships.  We referred many visitors to the "House on the Hill" in Montego Bay for the nice local luncheon they served . 

Unfortunately, some guests did not pay attention to the warning from the servers that that beautiful yellow, orange, green or red Scottish Bonnet pepper was for garnish. There was always someone from NY who grew up on those hot Italian "finger peppers" who thought he could tackle an uncooked Scotch Bonnet. 

The hospital in Montego Bay knew how to handle it with a massive milkshake of anti-acids to stop the tissue burning and blisters.  Sometimes a paste of baking soda might slow the tissue damage down followed by the garden hose flush which might cool things down if you don’t drown.

This is why I recommend you wear gloves when working with them, a cut on your finger, all real chefs get them, will send you to another planet.  I did it once, never again. And be sure to wear glasses, and Do Not touch your eyes while handling them. 

Again, you cut off the tops, quarter them, dump the seeds under running water, remove the membrane and rinse, dice or mince.  You cook early with them. The more raw they are, the more powerful. Cooking mellows them.  If you dump the seeds in your garbage disposal let the water run and I throw coffee grinds or ice cubes to flush the system.

Do not go overboard. In this recipe we are using it as a marinade. They would be basting with it in Jamaica. If I slow cook it in the oven, I baste only once or twice.   No civilians were injured killed or maimed while basting with cooked Habaneros.


THE GHOST PEPPER - DO YOU BELIEVE IN GHOSTS?
Recently, the Chili war has escalated to new highs with a few new chili’s to be added to the Bi-annual Esophagus Onslaught.  (BEO)  The Ghost Pepper (Bhot Jolokia) aka ghost pepper, ghost chili pepper, red naga chili  and the ghost chili is an interspecific hybrid cultivated in the Indian states of Assam and Nagaland. It grows in the Indian states of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. 

There was initially some confusion and disagreement about whether the Bhut was a Capsicum frutescens or a Capsicum chinense pepper, but DNA tests showed it to be an interspecies hybrid, mostly C. chinense with some C. frutescens genes. 

In 2007, Guinness World Records certified that the Ghost Pepper (Bhot Jolokia) was the world's hottest chili pepper, 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce

In 2009, scientists at India's Defence Research and Development Organisation announced plans to use the peppers in hand grenades, as a non lethal way to flush out "terrorists" from their hideouts and to control rioters. It will also be developed into pepper spray as a self-defense product.

R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of India's Defense Research and Development Organization said bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays could be used as a "safety device", and "civil variants" of chili grenades could be used to control and disperse mobs. 


UPDATE  1,000 people - Copenhagen's Chili Klaus Event
Copenhagen’s Chili Klaus organized an event on June 5, 2014 at which 1,000 people ate the notorious Ghost Chili (bhutjolokia), at around 1,000,000 heat units on the Scoville scale, one of THE hottest chili peppers known to man.  And the results were painful to say the least.  And not even liquid could douse the heat. As our friends at Digg have noted: ‘Don’t worry, milk was provided. Which also led to a lot of people vomiting up spicy milk.   

These volunteers watched as the chilis were trotted out in a locked, fire-engine red case. Then, with communion hands, they received the thumb-sized red pepper wrapped in sealed plastic bags. Some smelled it, others ventured a lick, most looked around with excited trepidation. Then, at the strike of the church bell, they simultaneously inhaled the little devil and waited.  How utterly torturous is that bite? 

It's enough to make grown men and women call out in pain, weep openly, crouch down in the fetal position, and vomit in public.  So, you know, not that hot, way beyond hot and for some dangerous.  I have no frickin idea why someone would sponsor this type of event.  

The TRINIDAD MORUGA SCORPION - 2012 
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (Capsicum chinense) is native to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago. On February 13, 2012 the New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute identified the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as the hottest chili of the world, with a mean heat of more than 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units and individual plants capable of heat of more than 2 million Scoville Heat Units.

Paul Bosland, a chili pepper expert and director of the Chile Pepper Institute, said that, "You take a bite. It doesn't seem so bad, and then it builds and it builds and it builds. So it is quite nasty.

Aside from the heat, the Trinidad Scorpion Moruga has a tender fruit-like flavor, which makes it a sweet-hot combination. The pepper can be grown from seeds in most parts of the world. 

In North America, the growing season varies regionally from the last spring hard frost to the first fall hard frost. Freezing weather ends the growing season and kills the plant but otherwise they are perennials which grow all year, slowing in colder weather.  Do not cut without eye protection and gloves.


THE CAROLINA REAPER-2013 
On December 26, 2013 the Guinness World Records declared the Carolina Reaper the world's hottest pepper, dethroning the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.  The Carolina Reaper is a hybrid chili pepper of the Capsicum chinense species, originally called the "HP22B", bred by cultivator Ed Currie, who runs PuckerButt Pepper Company in Rock Hill, South Carolina. 

The Carolina Reaper was rated as the world's hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records according to 2012 tests,averaging 1,569,300 SHU on the Scoville scale with peak levels of over 2,200,000 SHU. The previous record-holder was the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. The cost to Currie of obtaining the evidence to claim the Guinness record was US $12,000.

From PuckerButt : This is the World Record Hottest Chili, Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper pepper, formerly known as HP22B. It is beautiful with a bright red rough surface and a long stinger. 

But don’t let looks fool you! This pepper got its name for a reason. If you are stupid enough to eat this pepper whole, you may wish to enter the doors of death willingly. Be very, very careful using this pepper. Those who don’t fear the Reaper are fools.  Do not cut without eye protection, a face mask, and gloves.


WARNING and we’re not kidding!  

After touching or handling hot peppers always remember to wash your hands with a product containing acidity such as lime or lemon juice. Some of our peppers are smoking hot and if not properly handled will temporarily damage skin tissue. 

When sharing your hot peppers with others, please let them know to use with caution.  I have witnessed fools who took this advice for granted and really didn’t know what they were getting into, crying like babies in the hospital with severe burns.

Hot Chilis are safe - Experiments have been conducted squirting chili oils directly onto the stomach lining and no adverse effects were seen. The pain of hotness is entirely a nerve signaling thing and is not a real pain from damage of any kind. Birds do not have appropriate receptors and are immune to chilis so eat them and spread their seeds efficiently. The upshot of this is you can treat the seed in your bird feeder with chilis so the squirrels can't eat it, but it doesn't bother the birds at all. 

•  Tolerance - For the uninitiated a modest amount of chili pepper causes unpleasant pain when consumed and will mask the flavors of the dish it is included in. Repeated exposure, however, causes the chili specific nerve receptors to become much less sensitive to chili heat. 

•  After-burner - If you notice stinging at your nether orifice a day or so after eating hot chilis you are not eating enough hot chilis. The digestion adjusts and this problem goes away. 

•  Vitamins - Hot red chilis are extremely high in vitamin A, but have good doses of vitamin C as well as folic acid, potassium and antioxidants. They are low sodium and very low carbs.   

•  Diabetes - The capsaicin (the hot stuff) in chili peppers have been shown effective in controlling blood glucose levels in persons suffering from type-II diabetes, with the effect still evident in fasting levels in the morning. 

•  Endorphin Rush - Chilis have been found to provide many people with an “ Endorphin rush” similar to that achieved by joggers but with a lot less effort, risk and damage to the joints 

•  Sweating and Digestion - Hot chilis are very popular in practically all tropical areas because they induce sweating which cools the body. They are also a digestive stimulant which helps a lot in hot weather

•  Cooking Helps - The heat level of fresh chillies is reduced somewhat with the length of cooking so add them earlier if you like it milder and later if you prefer it hotter.  Always add chili in whatever form a little at a time, you can always add some more if needed but you can’t take it out once you have overdone it. 

•  Speed Chills - Chili powder will permeate the rest of the sauce most readily. It blends and adds heat real fast. If you finely chop fresh chillies, you will need to cook them for a while to add the heat to the sauce.  Powder is fast, cooking is slower but more flavorful to some. I slow cook.

•  Whole and sliced chillies will add their heat mainly when eaten directly. Adding chili powder to a finished dish is not a good way to add heat as the spices need to be worked in to the dish which is difficult once served. The top part of the chile could be cut off. I call this topping. It has the highest amount of heat producing capsaicin. Then I  remove all of the seeds and veins to make the chile as mild as possible.

•  Jamaican Hot Foot - RAW UNCUT HABANERO - Strictly used as a garnish.  When I lived in Jamaica, we had a stop on the tour we had the visitors followed where they used yellow, orange and red Habaneros as on the plates with lunch served to our guests.  Repeated warnings and speeches did not work.

I am not out to prove my manhood by eating those hot peppers straight as I have seen some Neanderthals try to do.   Even after being warned, every tour has a hotshot who thinks he can tame a Jamaican pepper.  A quick ride down the hilltop to the infirmary where everything from milk, a hose flushing out the mouth to baking powder paste, all sorts of concoctions.

•  In Mexico, they have Mariachis for the music-a, and marination for chiles, soaking them in lime juice. Chiles en Nogada, call for soaking the chiles overnight in lime juice. Chile peppers are available year round and in the United States they are mainly grown in California, New Mexico and Texas.


TYPES - MOST COMMONLY FOUND

Anaheim* Very mild. Six to eight inches in size and deep, shiny green. Often stuffed or added to salsas.

Ancho: Dried or fresh poblano pepper. Dried anchos are flat, wrinkled, and heart shaped. They range in color from very dark red to almost black. Anchos are mild to moderately hot and often soaked and ground for use in sauces.

Cayenne: From four to twelve inches in length. Deep green, yellow, orange, or red. Long, skinny, and wrinkled in appearance. Hot in taste.

Cherry*  Round and red like a cherry. Sold fresh or pickled in jars, these peppers range from mild to moderately hot.

 Habanero*   AKA Scotch Bonnet:  Popular and commonly found, typically yellow-orange but they can be green, red, yellow or orange. These peppers are lantern shaped and typically about 2 inches long. The hottest pepper grown commercially with a unique floral flavor and an extremely intense heat that affects the nasal passages. They are sold fresh and in glass acid proof jars.  

The Habanero is the blowtorch of the chili family and the hottest usually available in US groceries. You can seed and de-pith habaneros to lower the heat, but when working with them, wear gloves and keep your hands away from your face, especially do not touch your eyes. 


  Jalapeño*   Most often green when mature but sometimes red. They are very hot, with an immediate bite. Use whenever recipe simply calls for hot chile peppers. They can be fresh or canned. When smoked, Jalapeños are called chipotles.  

The Jalapeño is probably one of the most common cooking peppers.  Heat wise Jalapeños  for some extroverts are tolerable but most folks like them de-pithed and de-seeded if needed and add great taste with subdued heat when cooked.   

http://www.jalapenomadness.com/Jalapeños are dark green and will go red when left on the vine longer if you grow your own.  Most chilis are easy to grow. If you like jalapeños go here 


The Poblano* Poblano peppers look like small bell peppers and are mild to hot on the hotness scale. They can be fresh or canned and flavorful.

Serrano* Sold red or mature green and about 1 to 4 inches in length. Moderate to very hot with an intense bite. Can be found canned, pickled, or packed in oil with vegetables. Often served in Thai or Mexican dishes. 

CHECK YOUR LOCALE
I live in Tampa, Florida and one of many sources I use for Chilies is Publix SuperMarkets who stock about four to five  types of Chilis.  Usually I see Jalapeño’s  Habanero’s, Poblano’s, and Serrano’s.    I also have access to several ethnic supermarkets specializing in Thai, Philippine, Korean, with Indian and Chinese for specialty or hard to find proprietary items.  

Quality sometimes varies since many of these are imported and are quite ripe when they get here.  I refrigerate mine to last longer and here is the process:

  1. I remove the top and stem, slice in half the long way.  The HEAT is the white ‘PITH’ and the seeds. 
  2. I use a tool I made from a “Melon Baller” I sharpened the edges of the baller.
  3. Using my tool, I remove the white ‘Pith' and seeds wearing safety glasses and rubber gloves in one shot under the water faucet.
  4. I dice, slice, julienne, or chop for whatever I have planned, I have one Rubbermaid container with four sections and that covers me for a week of cooking.
  5. In volume cooking I  place then in a good quality Rubbermaid container with a little olive oil, shake it well, and they keep very well. 
  6. I use them in a lot of cooking. The selection here is not bad, workable and Publix usually has the asterisk marked Chili's on the shelf.  Most were marked products of California but it varies during the year.  Sometimes we get Mexico, sometimes Florida.
  7. Unique, odd, not so common chilies, may be found in ethnic food stores and should be inspected, well washed and cleaned before using. They also have dried chilies, and chilies in oil or water bottled.
  8. Careful when cutting large amounts of chilies.  Wear glasses and do not touch your eyes. Chilies contain Capsaicin and onions contain Sulfur.  When you cut chilies or slice onions the water mixes and creates in the case of the onion a mild form of sulphuric acid. Thats why it burns delicate tissue.


PEPPER WARS AT IN-N-OUT BURGER
CAUTION - PAY ATTENTION - I DID NOT
Next to the napkins there were two small trays of peppers, I love peppers, all peppers, Jalapeños to Habanero’s, and I rarely cook anything without some kind of pepper, they are the universal condiment of the world grown in all countries and they come in different flavors and strengths.   I use mild to mild-medium always cooked.  I’m very cautious about Listeria and just about anything I didn’t grow gets the cook it treatment.  I can add heat if needed, but deleting listeria is not that easy combined with lots of other things found in raw foods.

And maybe these served at the store in Vegas may be localized to Vegas or California or one specific vendor, because of TEX- MEX influence and demographics and hotter peppers are more popular in the SouthWest. 

I like to cook internationally, favoring the unique flavors and spices  of Thai, Indian, Middle east and Japanese dishes and fairly familiar with most peppers on this planet.   

The guy next to us was munching on them like peanuts, so I thought they were just like Italian Finger peppers, or Chicago Hot Dog peppers, they must be OK.   I bit into one and an hour later I was still on fire.  It took a Pepto Bismol and a Tums tablet dissolving on my tongue to put the fire out.  

Holy Sh.t!  These were most volatile anything I ever tasted. The company named them “Hot Chili Peppers”.  They were not joking.  They are offered as takeouts (see photo) at some stores. The I-N-O net referred to them as Banana Peppers.  The web contains a whole page on searches by customers to find them, what and where to find these peppers including some statements from I-N-O.  And they are not like Banana Peppers. But the Pepper industry is unique, mainly because of demand and the fact they are hardy and mutate easily.


PEPPER BREEDING BUSINESS 
A unique part of home bred cooking is the extent some Pepper purist will go to reach the ultimate top of the game.  Breeding and developing peppers might one day become an olympic sport.  Which is not unusual in the Pepper Cross Breeding business where the ultimate thrill is to eat a pepper and watch your  (or your friends)  stomach explode sprouting fire as you head for the head100 yards away.  Ghost peppers, the Carolina Reaper and the Trinidad Moruga Scorpions were bred to be hot and they are  forcing the Scoville charts to rethink the top end.  

Now the company when asked explained that California is experiencing a shortage in yellow banana pepper crops, citing that this year's demand exceeded the supply. She also said that it’s affecting multiple locations, however, the next harvest is expected to come in early summer.  The company would not disclose the supplier of these peppers.  To me that is a flag.   Also they may change brands and types to meet regional needs but I am an investigative reporter and I smell stories when it comes to food.  

Calls to In-N-Out’s Southern California-based corporate headquarters to inquire about the shortage. It’s referred to the current situation as, “An industry-wide pepper shortage.” The "shortage" is not yet affecting the chopped chilies that can be added to fries or burgers, but if you want a side-order of whole yellow banana peppers, that's when the pepper rationing gets real.

A memo from In-N-Out, dated for May 9 and addressed to its California stores, was posted on Twitter May 15. The memo directs In-N-Out employees to keep, “ Chilies away from ketchup stations,” and to serve guests only two chilies in a "Soufflé cup per request."

As explained in a report by Munchies, a shortage of the small, yellow pickled peppers -- Cascabella peppers -- due to a combination of factors that have affected crops, like bad weather and soil conditions.  These are the Casabella which translates as.  And you can buy seeds now, plants are unavailable as of July but with seeds grow your own.   see Chileplants.com


SUBSTITUTE
This is a hot topic (pun) and I think those Peppers could be substituted and are very are close to the Udupi Indian peppers in size and color and have nothing to do with Banana Peppers.   I think they may consider importing from India so they won’t run out.  They are also called Canthari Chili’s,  also known as “ White Bird Pepper” and this variety is popular in Kerala and in Sri Lanka.  

Small yellow white variety of chili grown in Udupi district, India, often used in chutneys and pickles” just like the Casabella’s and recently planted in the US, seeds are available for do it yourself on eBay.  India is the world's biggest producer, consumer and exporter of chili peppers. Guntur in the South Indian State of Andhra Pradesh produces 30% of all the chilies produced in India. Andhra Pradesh as a whole contributes 75% of India's chili exports.



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