Bring on the Heat!
Many of us get excited over the littlest of the things. Some people get excited over the first of seasonal produce. Others are overcome with excitement when summer finally arrives but then there are those of us who impatiently await the blushing, bloodthirsty colours from hot chilli peppers!
You don’t have to be a big fan of chilli peppers. It’s impossible not to pass by a pungent aroma of crisp, shiny peppers gleaming in sun-blushed rainbow colours, in all shapes and sizes. We are familiar with so many peppers and some which are unfamiliar like one of my favourites the Peruvian Rocotillo pepper.
Some chilli peppers come with heat warnings and some of them belong as a centrepiece.
As human beings, we are still newcomers to the variety of peppers out there and still find ourselves experimenting with different varieties used with different cuisines. So if you are still trying to figure out your heat tolerance hear are a few chilli peppers on the heat scale I have been scouting.
Hot Stuff Chilliometer 1-10!
INFORMATION: Bell Peppers are also known as Capsicum originally native to Mexico, Central America, North and South America. Bell Peppers are less pungent in heat compared to other varieties and are sometimes classed under sweet peppers.
HEAT SCALE: 0
COOKING TIPS: Great in salads and perfect when grilled or stuffed.
INFORMATION: These are generally small peppers from Northwest Spain. These peppers are generally mild but the minority can be particularly hot depending on the cultivation.
HEAT SCALE: 2
COOKING TIPS: Great when fried in olive oil and sprinkled with salt, ideal for tapas.
INFORMATION: Originating from Mexico, when compared to other chillies the jalapeño varies a lot in heat, from mild to hot depending on the cultivation and preparation.
HEAT SCALE: 4
COOKING TIPS: Extremely tasty, great in dipping sauces and sensational when stuffed with cheese, meat or seafood.
INFORMATION: Originating from Mexico, chilli peppers have a unique combination of intense, aromatic flavour and heat.
HEAT SCALE: 6
COOKING TIPS: Extremely tasty and versatile. The Fire-Flame chilli can be used in a variety of cuisines such as Thai (Nam phrik), Chinese (Gong Bao), Mexican (Chiles en Nogada), Italian (Puttanesca), Indian (Curries) and many more inculding Hungarian (Paprikash).
INFORMATION: Commonly available in South Africa but the variety originates from Peru. It’s a crisp, sweet red pepper with a tantalising kick.
HEAT SCALE: 7
COOKING TIPS: Perfect in tacos and red meat such as beef.
INFORMATION: Available in California, mature red Fresno peppers pack a heat and are more versatile than most peppers that can be added to many types of dishes.
HEAT SCALE: 7
COOKING TIPS: Great when used in salsas, relishes and marinades. It’s the perfect garnish for Mexican, Central American, North and South American dishes. Flavour is perfect with fajitas, potatoes and Thai dishes.
INFORMATION: It is a variety of chilli pepper mainly found in the Caribbean islands, the flavour is used in many dishes from around the world.
HEAT SCALE: 9
COOKING TIPS: Ideally used for sauces and condiments but even better when cooked with chicken, lamb and shellfish.