5 surprising hot pepper facts


You may think you know everything there is to know about hot peppers, but we’ll bet there are a few things you still need to learn.

To begin with, peppers have been around for thousands upon thousands of years. In fact, it’s thought people first farmed chili peppers in Mexico and Peru a whopping 6,000 years ago, making them one of the first domesticated plants in the world! Some of these peppers were used even thousands of years ago for medicinal reasons. Flash-forward to today, and some people say powdered cayenne pepper can be used for more than just flavoring. Some advise keeping it in your kitchen as a first aid tool, as it can help seal a wound in an accident.

In terms of good health, chili peppers are packed with vitamin C.

You’ve probably heard that oranges are also good for this reason, but chili peppers surprisingly contain much more vitamin c than the average orange. It’s pretty hard to get an orange and a pepper confused, but do you know the difference between a chipotle and a jalapeno? It turns out, they’re really the same thing. A chipotle pepper is a jalapeno that’s been aged, dried, and smoked. This is what accounts for the heat difference on the hot pepper scale. Along the same lines, ancho chiles are dried poblano peppers.

The fifth surprising fact has to do with preferences.

A lot of people love the taste of hot peppers, but that puts us in the minority. While humans often seek out hot flavors, most mammals do not. It’s likely hot peppers evolved in order to survive against the threat of pesky animals, fungi, and bugs. Ironically, tree shrews are different than most, as they tend to be less sensitive to hot peppers and capsaicin. Birds don’t seem to be affected at all, which makes sense, because birds help spread pepper seeds, which helps them grow.

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