Chilli Krisp is Ukudla Okuhle (Good Food)

What is SHU?

When one hears the word Chilli, one immediately thinks, “Burny” or “Heat” – some with relish, some with fear. It follows then that one cannot discuss chillies without discussing their “heat” and how this is measured…

The Scoville scale is a measurement of pungency (spiciness or “heat”) of chili peppers and other substances, recorded in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). It is based on the concentration of capsaicinoids, among which capsaicin is the predominant component.

The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, whose 1912 method is known as the Scoville organoleptic test. The Scoville organoleptic test is a subjective assessment derived from the capsaicinoid sensitivity by people experienced with eating hot chilis.

An alternative method, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), can be used to analytically quantify the capsaicinoid content as an indicator of pungency.

Scoville Ratings

Since Scoville ratings are defined per unit of dry mass, comparison of ratings between products having different water content can be misleading.

For example, typical fresh chili peppers have a water content around 90%, whereas Tabasco sauce has a water content of 95%.

For law-enforcement-grade pepper spray, values from 500,000 up to 5 million SHU have been reported, but the actual strength of the spray depends on the dilution.

Capsicum Peppers

Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae, native to the Americas, cultivated worldwide for their chilli pepper or bell pepper fruit. Capsicums in general are cultivated for their fleshy berries and seeds, and they are grown in many places around the world.

Capsicum Bell Peppers are sweet and generally added to salads – they are also the perfect shape to stuff with all sorts of goodies.

Capsicum Chilli Peppers are commonly used to add pungency to cuisines worldwide.

The range of pepper heat reflected by a Scoville score is from 500 or less (sweet peppers) to over 1.5 million (Carolina Reaper)

SOURCE: Wikipedia 

Domesticated Chilli Species

As briefly mentioned on our Home Page, there are around 30-35 varieties of chillis, but only 5 of these have been domesticated (this means that the species has been cultivated by humans and refined over many generations.)

Capsicum Annuum

While this chilli’s name is derived from the word “annual” which implies that the plant has a one-season lifetime, this is not strictly true. If this chilli plant is not subjected to extremely cold temperatures, it can actually survive for many seasons and can become large perennial bushes.

Capsicum Annuum includes Chillis such as Bell Peppers, Jalapenos, Poblanos, Cayenne, Hidalgo, Hungarian Hot wax, Chiltepin, Serrano, Paprika, Anaheim, Ancho, Banana pepper, Chile de árbol, Thai birds-eye and many more.

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Capsicum Baccatum

The name means “berry-like”, which generally describes the shape of Chillies that come from this species. It has its origins in Peru and the Andean region of South America, which is hypothesised to be the birthplace of the first Chillies in the world. Aji Chillies, which generally come from this species, have been consumed in this region for thousands of years.

Capsicum Baccatum includes Aji Amarillo (Peru’s most popular Chilli), Aji Limone ( aka the lemon drop Chilli), Pitanga ( starfish Chilli of Brazil), Bishops Crown, Aji Andean, Aji Ayucullo (Peru), Aji Benito (Bolivia), Aji Catatenango ( El Salvador), Aji Brown (Peru) and the White wax Chilli.

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Capsicum Chinense

The Dutch botanist who named this species mistakenly believed that it originated in China because of its extensive use in Chinese Cuisine. it was, in fact, introduced to China by European explorers. Chinense is a very hot species of Chilli that has its origins in the Andean region.

It is known as a Habanero type Chilli and includes Scotch bonnets, Adjumas & Madame Jeanette’s (from Suriname), 7 pot cultivars, Trinidad Scorpions, Bhut Jolokia (Ghost peppers), Datils (from Florida) and Fatalli (from South Central Africa)

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Capsicum Frutescens

Capsicum Frutescens means “Shrub Like”. These pungent small Chillies that grow skyward facing are prized in China, Africa, Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines and the USA for their fantastic flavour. They are commonly used to make hot sauces like Tabasco, Piri- Piri, etc. They have their origin in South America, but were widely distributed around the world by the Portuguese.

Chillies in this species include African Devils, Malaguetas, Cabai Rawit, Siling Labuyo, Xiaomila Pepper and Tabasco.

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Capsicum Pubescens

This species’ name means “hairy” in reference to the hairs in its leaves.

Capsicum Pubescens Chillies have been used for thousands of years in the Andean region. Traces of Capsicum Pubescens use go back more than 7 000 years, with traces of its use found in the Guitarrero Cave.

In Peru and Ecuador, it is known as a Rocotto, Locoto in Bolivia and Argentina, and as the Manzano pepper (Apple Pepper) in Mexico.

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