7 Pepper Facts You Didn’t Know
- Peppers were one of the first plants to have been domesticated by humans over 6,000 years ago in Mexico.
- Contrary to popular belief, the seeds are not actually the hottest part of the pepper.
- The hottest part is located where the seed is attached to the placental white membrane inside the pepper. This pith has the highest concentration of capsaicin which is the compound that gives peppers their heat.
- Capsaicin is a molecule that affects your taste buds, nasal membranes and nerve cells. When you bite into a spicy pepper, this molecule sends information to your brain that tells you it’s hot.
- We strictly measure the heat of peppers by Scoville Heat Units also known as SHUs. Veggie Sweets and bell peppers have no heat whatsoever at 0 SHU. In contrast, Scorpion Trinidad peppers clock in at a whopping 1.4 million to 2 million SHU!
- Smoking and drying peppers can deeply intensify their flavor. The difference can taste so significant that their name changes too. For example, smoked jalapeños are actually the same as chipotle peppers.
- If you eat a pepper that’s too hot to handle, you may be tempted to drink water. However, reach for the milk, yogurt or ice cream instead. Dairy products which are higher in fat are better for quenching heat.