Chili peppers have been an integral part of cuisines around the world for centuries. From adding a spicy kick to your favorite dishes, to being used as natural remedies, and of course making some fiery hot sauces, chili peppers continue to fascinate us with their unique characteristics and flavors.
So today we're going to talk about some fun facts about chili peppers that you may not have known!
1. Chili Peppers Are Fruits Not Vegetables
Yes, you read that right! Despite being used in savory dishes, chili peppers are technically fruits. This is because they are botanically classified as berries. Just like other fruits, chili peppers have seeds inside them and grow from the flowering part of a plant.
2. Bell Peppers Account for 72% of All Pepper Sold in The US
Bell peppers are the most commonly sold variety of pepper in the United States. They come in various colors like red, yellow, orange and green and have a mild to slightly sweet taste. Unlike its other chili pepper cousins, they don't come packing with any heat at all.
3. "Chili" is Spelled Differently Around The World
In the United States, we spell chili with one "L" while in other parts of the world it is spelled with two. In countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand it is spelled as "chilli" whereas in South America, they tend to spell it as "chile". But no matter how you spell it, everyone can agree that chili peppers are delicious!
4. There Are Thousands of Different Types of Peppers
There are over 4,000 different types of chili peppers in the world and they come in all shapes, sizes, colors and heat levels. Some of the most well known varieties include Jalapeños, Habaneros, Serrano peppers and Ghost peppers.
5. There is Only One Pepper That Has Zero Capsaicin in It
The bell pepper, which we talked about earlier, is the only chili pepper that has no capsaicin in it. Capsaicin is the compound found in peppers that gives them their heat. It's also what makes some people's mouths feel like they're on fire when eating spicy foods.
6. Capsaicin from Chili Peppers is The Main Ingredient in Pepper Spray
Pepper spray, also known as OC spray or oleoresin capsicum spray, is a non-lethal self defense weapon that uses capsaicin as the main active ingredient. This compound causes temporary blindness and extreme discomfort when sprayed on an attacker's face.
8. All Peppers Come From 5 Species Now
Despite the thousands of varieties of peppers in the world, they all come from just five species: Capsicum annuum, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum chinense, Capsicum frutescens and Capsicum pubescens.
9. Chili Peppers Are Healthy For You
Chili peppers are full of flavor and heat, but they also have numerous health benefits. They are high in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants and have been linked to boosting metabolism and reducing inflammation.
Plain and simple, chili peppers are healthy for you!
10. There is A "Hotness" Scale for Peppers
If you've ever wondered just how hot a pepper can get, there's actually a scale that measures it! The Scoville Scale rates peppers based on the amount of capsaicin they contain. Just recently in 2023. the Guiness World Record for the hottest pepper was broken by Pepper X.... which rates an average of 2.69 million SHUs.
11. The Hottest Pepper in The World is Insanely Hot
Speaking of the hottest pepper in the world, just how hot is it? To put things into perspective, a jalapeño pepper Scoville rating ranks at around 2,500-8,000 SHU, compared to 2.69 million by pepper x. It's not for the faint of heart!
12. One in Four People Eat Chili Peppers On The Daily
According to a study, one in four people globally consume chili peppers on a daily basis. This is likely due to its widespread use in many cuisines and cultures around the world. So if you're a fan of chili peppers, know that you are definitely not alone!
Know Any Chili Pepper Facts We Missed?
Chili peppers are not only delicious and versatile, but they also have a rich history and fascinating characteristics. From being classified as fruits to being used in self defense weapons, there is so much more to these spicy little peppers than meets the eye.
Did we miss any fun facts about chili peppers? Let us know in the comments below.