It is no accident that “hot” peppers are the backbone of Central- and South American indigenous cuisines. They “love” heat.
The capsicum genus, a branch of the solanaceas family, contains 31 known species, only five of which are domesticated.
Over centuries, these five species travelled from their ancestral places of origin to near and far, and everywhere they were manipulated by framers and shaped by “terroir” to produce a kaleidoscopic array of sub-varieties/
The major pepper originated from capsicum cumonnuum which itself evolved from devilishly hot anonymous peppers long forgotten.
Then there are capsicums chinense, capsicum baccatum, capsicum pubescens and others.
All capsicums are fruits with lustrous skins and ribbed and seed-filled interior.
Chili peppers bring a lot more to the table than just spiciness. Capsaicin present in chilies, has many health benefits. Unlike its name, Chili pepper is not a native of Chile but has its origin in Central and South America. Botanically termed Capsicum, they belong to the family Solanaceae which has potato and tomato as its members. They are widely used by the entire world be it in the spicy Mexican cuisine or a smoldering Indian curry or a red hot Thai dish. It is the form of usage which varies a great deal.
Walk beyond the computers and fax machines in the Sudbury office of David Ashley and you’ll find a rudimentary science lab. Turmeric, clove, beer buds, Serrano pepper powder, and extracts such as natural butter and mango fill the shelves of an old metal cabinet. Thirteen glass bottles in varying shades of orange are lined up across a tabletop, the result of gastronomic tinkering that may soon wind up on supermarket shelves across the nation.