Hot Pepper Kills Prostate Cancer Cells In Study
This page is found at http://www.chilepepperinstitute.org/ .
Q. How do
you get the burning sensation to stop after consuming chile peppers?
A. The best way to ease the burning sensation is to drink milk, eat
yogurt or any dairy product. A substance found in dairy products known as
casein, helps to disrupt the reaction. This substance which is a
lipophilic phosphoprotein, acts like a detergent and literally strips
capsaicin from its receptor binding site. If you get the oil on your skin
you may want to rub it with rubbing alcohol first then soak in milk, this
seems to alleviate the burning. If you get it in your eyes the only thing
you can do is repeatedly rinse with water or saline. Be very careful when
handling hot chiles, especially species like chinense where the habanero
comes from there are reports of these chiles actually blistering the skin.
Gloves are recommended when handling or peeling any types of hot chile.
Q. What is a Scoville Heat Unit, or HPLC test?
A. The Scoville Organoleptic Test is a refined, systematic approach.
With this method, human subjects taste a chile sample and record its heat
level. Samples are then diluted until heat can no longer be detected by
the taster, this dilution is called the Scoville Heat Unit, named for the
man who invented it, Wilbur Scoville. A more technologically advanced test
is an HPLC test, or High Performance Liquid Chromatography. An HPLC ‘sees'
the heat compounds and records the amount in parts per million (ppm). A
quick conversion from HPLC to Scoville is to multiply the ppm by 15 to get
the Scoville Heat Unit.
Q. Are ornamental varieties of chiles poisonous?
A. There are absolutely no varieties of peppers that are poisonous, all
capsicum species are edible. Some of the ornamental varieties just don't
taste very good, while others are extremely hot or pungent which may lead
to this misconception. However there is an ornamental plant called a False
Jerusalem Cherry, botanical name, Solanum Capsicastrum, this plant is
poisonous and is not intended for consumption, it is not a chile plant
only a relative.
Q. How do I know when to pick green chile, before it starts to turn
A. As chiles ripen the pods become more firm, a gentle squeeze of the
pod is the best method to test. If the pod is firm with a slight crackling
sound when you squeeze it should be quite close.
Q. What is the best method to dry chiles?
A. It really depends on what variety you are wanting to dry. New
Mexican varieties dry well in the form of ristras, hung in the sun or laid
out in the sun. Other thick walled pods of different varieties like
jalapeño, are smoked to preserve them, because the thick walls hold so
much more moisture and are very hard to sun dry or even dry with
dehydrators. Also depending on whether they are partially dried on the
plant or harvested while still succulent, moisture must be reduced to
about 10-11% for proper storage. Large processors are now using
dehydrators to dry pods, temperatures for dehydrators range from 140-150
Q. I heard that some chile pepper plants are perennials, are they, and
if so which ones?
A. All pepper plants are perennials if the conditions are favorable (no
frost or freezing temperatures). Southern California and Florida (here in
the continental U.S.), are probably the only places where you can grow
peppers as perennials.
Q. What does capsaicin do for the chile plant? Or in other words, why
did evolution produce hot peppers?
A. We believe that chiles evolved pungency to protect the fruits from
being eaten by mammals. Capsaicinoids, the compounds that cause the
burning sensation, are the only alkaloid chile produces. Birds, the
natural dispersal agent of chiles, can not feel the heat and thus
disseminate the seeds. However, when mammals eat chiles the seeds are
destroyed in the digestive tract.
Q. Where does the "heat" reside in the chile pepper? Many claim it is
ALL in the seeds. I have also heard that the capsaicinoids are stored in
the membranes of the chile.
A. Capsaicinoids are located on the membranes of chile or in the
placental tissue which holds the seeds, although many people believe the
seeds to be the hottest, seeds do not produce any capsaicin but do absorb
some from the placental tissues during processing but do not absorb hardly
any in fresh pods.
Q. We have harvested a large amount of green chile from our small
garden this year and would like to save them for the winter. Is it
possible to FREEZE them?
A. Yes, after roasting and peeling you will be able to freeze them in
air tight containers for up to 6 months.
Q. What is a "New Mexico Green Chile"?
A. Around 1888 Fabian Garcia, a horticulturist at the New Mexico
College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (NMSU today) began his first
experiments on breeding a more standardized New Mexican chile. In 1896,
Emilio Ortega (at the time sheriff of Ventura County, CA), after visiting
southern New Mexico, brought back chile seeds and planted them near
Anaheim, they adapted well to the soil and climate and this New Mexican
chile adopted the name of Anaheim. This name has stuck with this
particular pod type for many, many years. In 1907 Fabian Garcia, was
finally able to release his first standardized New Mexican pod type, after
experimenting with many strains of pasilla, Colorado, and negro chiles, he
released New Mexico No. 9, this the granddaddy of all future standard New
Mexico pod types, became the standard New Mexican chile up until 1950
after other chile breeding. In 1987, Anaheim became a variety under the
New Mexican pod type category.
Q. I have a small chile garden and have noticed that many of the
Jalapeño chiles get black or dark areas on them as they near maturity.
Other than these spots, the chiles seem fine. Can you explain what these
are? Is there anything I can do to prevent?
A. This purpling or blackening is due to direct sunlight, and can be
avoided by producing a bushier canopy that shades the pods.
Q. What causes flower drop?
A. The four main causes of flower drop are night temperatures exceeding
80 F or below 65 F, excessive Nitrogen, or lack of pollination. Changing
any one of these factors or pollinating by hand would be the best answers
to tis problem.
Q. How do you preserve a large amount of harvested chiles?
A. There are a few different methods, drying, freezing, canning, or
smoking. Large, thick fleshed fruits are best canned or smoked
(jalapenos). New Mexican pod types can be dried, roasted and frozen or
canned. Habaneros are best dried or canned or smoked. See Fiery Foods and
Barbecue Business Magazine issue 21 Fall 2001, contact Home Economist
Martha Archuleta at NMSU (505-646-3516), your local State Home Economist
or refer back to The Chile Pepper Institutes publication list.
Q. If a person eats many, many peppers over a lifetime, do they develop
a tolerance for capsaicin?
A. There has been a correlation between eating hot chiles over long
periods of time and building a sort of 'resistance' to the heat, something
like - where a person can actually eat hotter and hotter chiles over
Q. Are there any products containing capsicum on the market as a pain
reliever for arthritis related conditions?
A. Yes, there are many, Capsaicin D, and Heat are just a couple of
Q. What is a Chipotle?
A. Usually a smoked jalapeno, or other thick meated varieties of chiles
that have been smoked to preserve them.
Q. Are fish able to feel the 'heat' from chiles?
A. No, fish do not have the pain receptors (like birds), that mammals
do that 'feel' the heat. Many species of fish, like koi and other colorful
fish, are feed food with chile in it to keep their colors bright.
Chile Pepper Institute
New Mexico State University
Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
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