Photography, Useful

Chili Peppers

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The chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper. Chili peppers originated in the Americas. They are used in both food and medicine.

Chili peppers are extremely healthy for you, and should be included in your regular diet.

Chili Peppers Fight Migraine Headaches and Sinus Headache
Chili Peppers Prevent Sinusitis and Relieve Congestion
Chili Peppers Fight Cancer
Chili Peppers Help Lower High Blood Pressure
Chili Peppers Fight Inflammation
Chili Peppers Help Soothe Intestinal Diseases
Chili Pepper Can Help You Burn Fat and Lose Weight
Chili Peppers Help Protect Your Heart
Chili Peppers Have Loads of Vitamin C
Chili Peppers Can Warm Your Feet

We have a new chili pepper heat champion on the block. The 2012 New Mexico Chile Conference, in association with Jim Duffy of Refining Fire Chiles, has announced that the Moruga Scorpion is the hottest chili pepper in the world as of February 2012. This chili pepper has undergone rigorous study and testing in the lab. It clocks in at 2,009,231 Scoville Units. The previous record holder was the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T, at 1,463,700 Scovilles.

The Scoville unit was named for Wilbur Scoville in 1912. At the time, he worked for a pharmaceutical company named Parke-Davis where he developed a test called the “Scoville Organoleptic Test” which is used to measure a chili pepper’s heat.

Originally, Scoville ground up peppers and mixed them with sugar water, then test them with a panel of tasters who sipped from these sugar-water-pepper solutions. He would then dilute the solutions bit by bit until they no longer burned the tongues of the tasters, after which he would assign a number to the pepper based on the number of dilutions needed to kill the heat.

The measurements are divided into multiples of 100. Note that 1 part per 1,000,000 dilutions of water is rated at 1.5 Scoville Units. Pure capsaicin, the stuff that makes chili peppers hot, is rated between 15 – 16,000,000 Scoville units. This is incredibly HOT! See the chart below to compare several peppers on the range of the scale, and how they relate to pure capsaicin.

Today, testing chili pepper heat is not quite so subjective. It has been replaced by High Performance Liquid Chromatography, or HPLC, which measures the pepper’s heat producing chemicals and rates them in ASTA pungency units.

You can preserve your chile peppers for later use. There are several things you can do to preserve your harvest this year.

Drying Chili Peppers

Wash your chili peppers thoroughly after picking to remove any dirt, then dry.

Place on a plate or a wire rack in a dry, well ventilated room. You can also string the chilies up on string or thread and hang to dry. Within several weeks, you will have dried chili peppers and you can grind them up or use them as ornaments as desired.

Freezing Chili Peppers

Simply wash the peppers, drop them into a ziplock baggie, and set them in the freezer in 2 lb bags.

You can also freeze roasted chili peppers and even chop them up before freezing. When you thaw the peppers out for later use, they can become limp and rather squishy (though not always), but they won’t lose their flavor.

Pickling Chili Peppers

Always be sure to wash and dry your chili peppers before pickling them. Also, sterilize any jars and jar lids before using. Boil them on the stove for a half hour, or throw them in the dishwasher for a cycle or two. Here are a couple of pickling recipes to help get you started:

Simple Pepper Pickling Recipe

This is a bit like you’ll find in Mexican restaurants. Great when you want to serve the peppers as a side dish or at a picnic, especially if you like spicy carrots like I do.

Ingredients:

1 pound chili peppers, quartered
1 pound sliced carrots
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/8 cup salt
1/8 cup pepper
1/8 cup white pepper (optional)
2 cups white vinegar
Dash of your favorite hot sauce
Directions:

Bring the white vinegar to a boil in a small pot.
Add the sliced carrots, boil 10 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 10 minutes.
Remove from heat. Pour Contents into a jar (or several jars), screw on jar lid, and let cool.
Refrigerate.

Chili Peppers in Olive Oil

Clean your peppers thoroughly and dry. Roast the peppers in a broiler or on a grill over medium heat until the skins are bubbly and blackened. Be sure not to overcook. Skin the peppers and cut the flesh into thick strips.

Remove seeds if desired, but keeping the chili pepper innards will retain much of the heat. Add the pepper strips to a cleaned jar. Pour in enough olive oil to cover, and cover with a tightened lid. Be sure to make airtight. Refrigerate immediately.

This method of preservations should keep your chili peppers for a week or longer.

Roasting Chili Peppers

Roasting chili peppers allows you to easily remove the outer chili pepper skin and also alters the flavor of the pepper. Roasted chili peppers are delicious and soft, and also perfect for making stuffed pepper recipes. Traditional ways to roast peppers include roasting over an open fire, broiling, baking or grilling. Basically, you apply a heat source, wait for the chili pepper skins to blacken, char, and loosen, then peel. The hotter the heat source, the more you will affect the actual meat of the pepper, so beware of applying too high of heat.

Canning Chili Peppers

Pickled Chili Pepper and Jalapeño Rings

3 pounds jalapeño and other chili peppers
1½ cups pickling lime
1½ gallons water
7½ cups cider vinegar (5%)
1¾ cups water
2½ tablespoons canning salt
3 tablespoons celery seed
6 tablespoons mustard seed

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10 thoughts on “Chili Peppers”

  1. Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from an established blog.
    Is it very hard to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thanks

    1. Hi Roseanne,
      Is not very difficult. If you go on wordpress.com you will find all the steps you need to start your new blog. It takes time but it will work. Read a lot blogs before so you find inspiration. Good Luck!

  2. I have a really hard time anytime there is any red in the photo. It always comes out so over saturated, almost like I boosted the red even though I didn’t. It can ruin an otherwise excellent shot. Do you have any advice on how to work around this? Thank you!

    1. You can change the saturation with Photoshop or Lightroom. There are software you can use to clean your photos. Also, different settings for the camera, different light (morning or evening) and backgrounds. You need to find some balance and you will get a good result.

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