How to cook Chillies
Chillies are extremely versatile. Mild, sweet varieties can be eaten raw or cooked in a similar way to peppers. Hotter varieties are often used sparingly in sauces, condiments and to spice up dishes. Dried chillies are used as a spice to add heat and flavour. When preparing a chilli, you can reduce the heat by slicing lengthways and scraping out the seeds and white membrane. Take great care when handling hot varieties – use gloves or wash your hands thoroughly.
WATCH: How to make chilli sauce
ARE CHILLIES A VEGETABLE?
No, chillies are technically a fruit because we eat the part that contains the seeds. Chillies are in the Nightshade plant family, which includes tomatoes, peppers and potatoes.
DID YOU KNOW?
There are thousands of varieties of chilli, ranging in colour, shape and size. You can find red, green, yellow, purple or even jet-black chillies! Smaller chillies are often the hottest – so beware.
Capsaicin is the chemical compound that makes chillies taste hot. A special unit of measurement called Scoville Heat Units (SHU) is used to measure the heat of different varieties.
Chillies originated in Central and Latin America, before spreading via trade routes around the world. In India, for example, pepper was used to spice food before they discovered chillies.
Freeze leftover chillies that are on the turn, then finely grate over dishes or straight into your cooking to give them a kick – genius!
What are the health benefits?
Chillies are a good source of vitamin C, which helps keep our immune system healthy so we can fight illness and flu.