2016 - Chillie Peppers
Chile peppers have been cultivated for over 7000 years. While they originated in South and Central America, chillies quickly spread throughout the world following the travels of Christopher Columbus. Chilies were brought to Asia by Portuguese navigators during the 16th century. India is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of chili peppers. Birds were responsible, at least in part, for the spread of the seed throughout the Americas, being unaffected by the capsaicinoids, the compound that gives chillies their burning sensation. The chillie pepper is not at all related to black pepper Piper nigrum but is the genus Capsicum which belongs to the Nightshade family.
Historically, chile peppers have been used as money, tribute, spice, ornament, vegetable, medicine, as pest control and in spiritual ceremonies.
There are more than 10,000 varieties of chillie peppers in the world.
Pepper hotness is measured by the Scoville Heat Unit System, invented by Wilbur L. Scoville in 1912. It rates how much capsaicin or heat is present in a pepper.
The three primary spellings are chili, chile and chilli, all of which are recognized by dictionaries.
- Chili is widely used in historically Anglophone regions of the United State and Canada. However, it is also commonly used as a short name for chili con carne (literally chili with meat). Most versions are seasoned with chili powder, which can refer to pure dried, ground chili peppers, or to a mixture containing other spices.
- Chile is the most common Spanish spelling in Mexico and several other Latin American countries, as well as some parts of the United States and Canada, which refers specifically to this plant and its fruit. In the Southwest United States (particularly New Mexico), chile also denotes a thick, spicy, un-vinegared sauce made from this fruit, available in red and green varieties, and served over the local food, while chili denotes the meat dish. The plural is chile.
- Chilli was the original Romanization of the Náhuatl language word for the fruit (chilli) and is the preferred British spelling according to the Oxford English Dictionary, although it also lists chile and chili as variants. Chilli (and its plural chillies) is the most common spelling in Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore and South Africa. The name of the plant is almost certainly unrelated to that of Chile, the country,