Chile Facts
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    Who are these chileheads, anyway?

    Chileheads are a special group of people who enjoy foods and meals that involve peppers.  Some people think chileheads only eat food so spicy hot you can see smoke coming out of their facial orifices as they eat, constantly wiping sweat from their brow or upper lip.  chileheads, on the contrary, are a rare breed of gourmets who enjoy food variety as well as food itself.  Chileheads even enjoy foods that contain no capsaicin though, to be honest, these are usually accompanyments complimentary to the star attraction of the meal.

    There are a gazillion varieties of chile peppers.  Each has a different shape and color, and they vary greatly in how spicy or hot they are.  The stuff that makes peppers hot is called capsaicin (cap-say'-sin or cap'-suh-kin, chemically C18H27O3N), used medicinally as an irritant.  The pepper pods (capsicums) from which the oil is extracted are used medicinally as a gastric stimulant.  Capsaicin is an oil.  If you have a capsaicin fire in your mouth, pouring water or beer on it will only spread the oil (and the fire).  The best known antedotes are dairy products.  Notice how may meals in Mexican restaurants are buffered with cheese, sour cream and custard flan for dessert?  Hmmm....

    The hottest pepper, fat free and other chile facts...

    Chile peppers are members of the capsacin family of vegetables. Capsaicin, the stuff that makes peppers hot, has been said to be used to successfully treat:
  • Acid indigestion, acne, arthritis (The new otc drug Capsaicin HP is just for arthritis)
  • Blood clots, boils, bronchitis
  • Cancer, colic, colds, conjunctivitis
  • Dropsy, dysentery
  • Ear infections, epilepsy
  • Headache, herpes
  • Phantom-limb pain, seasickness, ulcers, vertigo, wounds

    Chile peppers are vegetables when green, spices when red.
    Green peppers are a source of vitamin C, red peppers are a source of vitamin A.
    Peppers are totally fat-free.
    The hottest chile pepper is the Red Savina Habanero.

    Pepper "hottness" is measured on a scale in Scoville units, so named for the scale's inventor, Wilbur L. Scovill.  In 1912, Scoville worked for Parke Davis, the pharmaceutical company which uses capsaicin in its muscle salve called Heet.  Scoville developed the Scoville Organoleptic Test, which is a scientifically administered taste test using human testers.  Today, high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) is used to measure capsaicin levels in parts per million, which is then converted to Scoville units, the industry standard.  To give you an idea of how the scale works, here are the Scovill unit ranges for some of the more common peppers (pure capsaicin = 16,000,000 Scoville units):

    BellBell Pepper - 0
    (this pepper, though tasty and useful, contains no capsaicin).

    JalapenoJalapeño - 2,500 - 5,000 units
    SeranoSerrano - 5,000 - 15,000 units
    ThaiThai - 50,000 - 100,000 units
    HabaneroHabanero - 100,000 - 300,000 units
    (this is the hottest pepper known).

    Flying Chile Pepper
    Boynton Beach, Fl 33472