The hottest part of the chili pepper is where the seed attaches to the white membrane, not the seed itself. This attachment contains the highest concentration of capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoid is a substances that acts on the pain receptors in your mouth and throat, capsaicin being the primary capsaicinoid in chili peppers.
Capsaicinoids are also present in chili pepper’s flesh in varying concentrations. Thus, one part of a single pepper may be hot and another part mild. Typically, larger chilies are more mild due to the lower proportion of seeds and white to their size.
There are several varieties of chili peppers, each differing in flavor and heat intensity:
- Anaheim/California Green Chile/Long Green Chile ~ long, slender and lobed; eaten green or red; mildly hot.
- Ancho ~ dried anchos are flat, wrinkled, heart shaped, very dark red to almost black; mild to moderately hot.
- Cascabel ~ green or red; small and round; moderately hot.
- Cherry~ round and red; mild to moderately hot.
- Hungarian ~ start yellow and ripen to orange or red; moderately hot.
- Poblano ~ Ancho peppers that are green, similar looking to small bell peppers and are mild to hot.
- Serrano ~ red or mature green; moderate to very hot with an intense bite.
- Cayenne/Long Hots ~ red when fully mature; thin and straight or curled at the tips; very hot.
- Jalapeno~ green when mature; very hot, with an immediate bite.
- Habanero/Scotch Bonnet ~ yellow-orange, can be green, red, or orange; lantern shaped; intense fiery flavor, unique floral flavor and an extremely intense heat affecting nasal passages; hottest.
Many of these varieties are consumed fresh, dried or canned. And chili peppers are an excellent natural source of vitamin C and capsaicin.
Chili peppers are available year round and when buying select the firm, glossy chilies with taut, unwrinkled skin and fresh green stems. Fresh chilies can be stored in the refrigerator up to three weeks, best wrapped in a paper towel and left unwashed.
Whenever you are working with or consuming chili pepper avoid touching your eyes or skin, capsaicin has the potential to be extremely irritating.
If you wish to decrease chilies heat intensity, remove their seeds and veins. Also, soaking them in salt water for an hour helps cool their jets as well.