But not everybody does. Chilli peppers are associated with heat because some of them are blisteringly hot. Literally.
In 1912 American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville developed the Scoville scale. It is still used to measure the heat of the many varieties of chillies and is useful in identifying the scarily hot ones and the non-threatening mild ones. What it cannot take into account is the human element; an individual’s response to capsaicin, the source of a chilli’s heat, will come down to taste and experience. And yes, chills are addictive. The kick (or blast) of heat from the chilli produces endorphins in the brain and we humans like endorphins, so we go back for more! This same feature explains why we can build up a resistance to the heat with practice.
Three things to bear in mind when cooking with or eating chillies:
- Chilli peppers are a rich source of vitamin C; combine that with the nasal-clearing qualities of the heat and you have temporary relief from the bleurgh* of a head cold.
- Beware the capsaicin on your fingers, it can burn your skin if the chilli is hot enough. Always wash your hands after preparing them raw or wear gloves. Seriously, I’m not kidding.
- Milk is better than water for cooling down that burning sensation if you misjudge your hotness threshold (or lose a bet). So sour cream and yoghurt are perfect accompaniments for a chilli-hot meal.
*not a medical term
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we at Caoba all love chilli. We carry a range of tinned chillies and bottled hot sauces in the Edinburgh shop and online and happily add a dash of the liquid heat to food whenever we can.
The Scottish weather may not be known for its heat, but you can always turn to our ranges of decorative and edible chillies to warm up a frosty day.