Do You Know Your Peppers

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Peppers

KNOW YOUR PEPPERS

Everyone loves peppers in some form or another. Whether you prefer a sweet red pepper or a touch of chilli on your pizza, here are a few fascinating pepper facts from the TastyMoments team about this versatile food group.

→ That Scoville is not a town in mid-west America? No folks, Scoville is indeed the scale used to measure the capsaicin content, or degree of heat, of different kinds of peppers. Sweet peppers have a Scoville count of 0. But when it comes to chillies, it is an entirely different matter. For years it was thought that the Habanero chilli was the hottest, weighing in at 250 000 Scoville units. Then the Carolina Reaper entered the scene and made it to The Guinness World Book of Records at an astonishing count of 3 million units. However, quite recently the same man who cultivated the Carolina Reaper, Ed Currie, knocked it off its pedestal. He produced Pepper X at – wait for it – a Scoville count of 4 million. Not going to mess with that one any time soon …

→ Bell peppers and chillies are members of the nightshade family of flowering plants made up of 2 500 species. Surprisingly these include potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and even tobacco!

→ Contrary to popular belief, peppers don’t have sexes. There are a few posts on social media saying, that bell peppers come in male and female form. The females are supposed to have four lobes and males three. However, this is fake news! It is the flower, not the fruit, which hosts the sexual organ in plants. Bell peppers produce flowers having both male and female parts (known as “perfect” flowers). As such, there is no particular gender associated with the fruit. Now you know. 

→ Always thought the best source of Vitamin C is the trusty orange? Not so. A large red pepper contains 3x as much of this vital nutrient. Peppers are low in calories and pack a nutritional punch, as they are also high in Vitamin A, potassium, folic acid and fibre.

→ Green, yellow and red peppers all come from the same plant. The fruits first present as green and then turn orange and red the longer you leave them on the vine. Red peppers have the highest the carotenoid (read: the good stuff) content.

→ Chillies can burn the skin and eyes. Preferably use gloves when you handle them and avoid touching your face (sound familiar?). If you do get any chilli on your hands, wash them with milk or yoghurt. Dairy products contain casein, which neutralises capsicum. Soap and water alone ain’t gonna do the trick.

→ Chillies can burn the skin and eyes. Preferably use gloves when you handle them and avoid touching your face (sound familiar?). If you do get any chilli on your hands, wash them with milk or yoghurt. Dairy products contain casein, which neutralises capsicum. Soap and water alone ain’t gonna do the trick.

→ The pulpy, whitish part in peppers is full of flavonoids (compounds that have fantastic antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties) and is edible after discarding the seeds that surround it.

Well, given these facts, we should tip our hats at Columbus who first brought peppers back to Europe in 1497. Today, peppers are used all over the world. In celebration of the glorious pepper, why not make a Mexican-style Ital Pizza be with delicious red pepper and a touch of chilli?

Enjoy these TastyTips?

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