27 February 2008

Mexican chilies

Chiles are the main ingredients for salsa. The salsa will vary in hotness depending on which peppers are used. Chile peppers also can be used as a meat rub to add flavor. With so many peppers to choose from, do some research before adding them to your meals. Some types of peppers include Jalapeños. They turn from green to dark purple, and finally to red when they are ripe. They are very hot and a good choice for salsa. They are the most well known pepper. Habanero peppers are the hottest of all. They are orange in color, but look similar to sweet green peppers, only smaller. They are also used in salsa. Poblano peppers are the biggest peppers used in Mexican food. They can be mild or hot and are often used in a sauce. Ancho peppers are dried Poblano peppers. They carry a mild flavor and are reddish-brown in color. Ancho peppers are the most common chile peppers used and commonly found in sauces.

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22 February 2008

What is the hottest curry you can bear to eat?

Theoretically, the hottest curry you could make would be a bowl of pure capsaicin crystals. This dish would be 10,000 times hotter than a vindaloo.

Although capsaicin does not actually cause a chemical burn or any direct tissue damage itself, the impact on the nervous system of such powerful stimulation is similar to an allergic reaction. As well as incredible pain, you could expect uncontrollably streaming eyes and nose, upper body spasms, and severe difficulty breathing for 30 to 45 minutes.

Provided you are healthy with no history of heart conditions or asthma, it might be possible to survive a teaspoon of pure capsaicin, but impossible to eat anything else for a few hours.

Theoretical limit: 5g capsaicin
Current record: 0.1g

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21 February 2008

Ancestral healing for your heart

Cayenne pepper (Capsaicin frutescens) has been popularly used for many centuries particularly by the Aztecs of South America. This spice or herb is said to be a 'cardio tonic' as well as an analgesic (that is, pain reliever). If you check the labels of pain-relieving ointments on the shelves of pharmacies, you will notice the word 'capsaicin' as an ingredient.

Cayenne is taken orally as a powder sprinkled on food or as a spice ingredient added to fruit or vegetable juices for flavour and zest. Cayenne must not be taken with common medications such as anafranil, imipramine tofranil and warfarin. This would increase the side effects of the drugs.

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Molecule of the week - Capsaicin

Most people like chili peppers, they're hot and spicy, but just what makes them so hot. The answer is Capsaicin (see above) and related molecules that are mostly found in the pithy material surrounding the seeds inside.

Just why are chilis hot anyway you might ask? The answer lies in that the spiciness aids in seed dispersal. How so? What creature (besides humans of course) would bite into a jalapeno and say to itself: hmmm... food! Well, the answer is birds, yes birds. The thing about birds is that their physiology is different. Instead of getting that burning, irritating sensation that humans alone among mammals seem to like, they experience an analgesic effect, probably something like taking codeine, cocaine or maybe even heroin. Anyway, the like it, scoff down the chilis and thus disperse the seeds.

I am disappointed that it's impossible to kill someone with chillis, so I suppose I'll have to stick to torture using them!

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06 February 2008

Hot, Spicy Foods: Three Ways to Stop the Burn

Don’t Drink Water
And water does not neutralize capsaicin. In fact, all water does is spread the capsaicin around your mouth more, which can make the burning sensation worse.

Alcohol Bad
Beverages that contain alcohol also don’t help stop the burn caused by spicy foods. In fact, alcoholic beverages will probably magnify the burn.

Try Drinking Milk

In fact, the fats found in all dairy products—like milk, buttermilk, and yogurt—seem to be able to counteract the burning sensation caused by eating spicy foods.

Eat Rice or Bread

If you’re eating spicy foods and things start to get a little too hot, eat some rice or bread. Both will absorb the capsaicin that’s making your mouth burn. Bananas can also help.

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03 February 2008

The World's Hottest Chili

"When you eat it, it feels like dying," touts one online retailer. Even packaging the stuff is a pain. "Our workers wear goggles, face masks, head cover and protective clothing," says Ananta Saikia, whose firm is the pepper's sole exporter. "They look like astronauts." He and his wife have started shipping tons of dried bhut jolokia around the world, including Germany, England and the U.S. Annual sales, he says, are expected to jump 500% this year.

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