Chillies: delicious, fiery and surprisingly good for you! Despite occasionally getting a bit of a negative reputation amongst those who have had a bad experience with too much Tabasco sauce, chillies are a versatile fruit capable of adding a lot of flavour to a variety of different dishes as well as having some rather more esoteric uses, too…
Red hot chilli peppers! – Photograph by Kevin Cheng
Chilli Nutrition & Health Benefits
Red chilli peppers are a fantastic source of vitamin C, vitamin B and provitamin A (carotene). Green chillies contain less of all these vitamins, as they’re less ripe than the reds, but are still good for you and delicious. Chillies also contain high levels of potassium, magnesium and iron, all of which are essential as part of a balanced diet.
Capsaicin – the oil in chilli seeds that gives the fruit its heat – also has numerous health benefits. Topical applications of capsaicin have been used as a treatment for osteoarthritis pain, as well as allegedly having been successful when used to treat similar pain associated with psoriasis and diabetic neuropathy.
Chillies can also help with congestion of the sinuses, too. The next time you have a cold, try eating adding chillies to a meal, and marvel as your breathing becomes clearer!
The Hottest Chilli in The World: Bhut Jolokia
No blog post about chillies would be complete without mentioning the hottest chilli in the world: the bhut jolokia (or naga jolokia). This chilli rates between 800,000 – 1,000,000 units on the Scoville scale, which is the generally accepted way of measuring the spicy heat in a chilli.
Some law enforcement agencies in India have even been considering using the bhut jolokia as part of a non-lethal weapon, due to its incredible potency. Suffice it to say, this chilli is not one we’ll be using as part of our gourmet diet delivery recipes!
Bhut Jolokia Pepper – Photo by Marc
Delicious Chilli Recipes & Ideas
Chillies can be used in a lot of different and interesting ways. As in our previous avocado facts post, to list them all would take up most of this page, and a lot of them are already well-known. Here is our pick of some of the more curious and tasty ways to use chilli peppers in your own cooking:
- Add a dash of powdered or ground chillies to breakfast pancakes to really wake you up
- Mix some chillies in with fresh tomatoes and simmer over a low heat for about 20 minutes. Once cool, refrigerate until ice cold and serve for a refreshing spicy summer treat
- Adding chillies to the base ingredients when making burgers can also make for a delicious and spicy dish when it’s barbecue time
- If you’ve got a lot of fresh chillies and want to save them for use later on, why not preserve them? Drying is one of the easiest ways. Simply hang them in a well ventilated room for a few weeks until dry
- Once your chillies are completely dry, completely submerge them in olive oil and leave to infuse, creating a delicious spicy condiment
- Chillies can also be used to give traditional sauces and a kick – just use your imagination and add a dash of chilli flavour and heat to your dishes and see what works!
Suggest your own interesting chilli facts and recipes below, and make sure you let us know if you’ve enjoyed any of our chilli-influenced gourmet diet delivery meals!