Chilli Trivia

If you failed our chilli pub quiz or just want to swot up on your chilli knowledge our chilli trivia section contains all the weird and absurd chilli facts that can be found.

Sections:

Uses
History
Type
Pop culture

Uses:

Acne: Face cream made from chillies has miraculous properties which when used can combat acne and other minor skin imperfections.
Cooking: Fresh chillies have tough skin which doesn’t disintegrate when cooked. Poblano chillies are most famous for their ability to retain their form when heated up.

Elephants: In Northeastern India peppers are smeared on fences and are combined with smoke bombs as a safety precaution to keep nosy elephants at bay. Plantations are often sprayed with a chilli pepper based liquid in order to repel elephants. As soon as they get so much as a distant whiff of this stinging aroma the elephants turn in the opposite direction.

Medicine: Ever wonder what makes Deep Heat feel so amazing? It’s chilli peppers of course. Chilli pepper extract is used in the treatment of many other medical ailments and diseases including: prostate cancer, herpes and diabetes, and is a natural painkiller, helping those suffering from arthritis and headaches.

Beauty: A king in the worlds of food, medicine and beauty treatments, chillies form the base of massage oils and anti-cellulite creams, and its powder makes great anti-ageing masks and preparations which can enliven dull hair.

Weapon. Indian scientists have been working on special grenades which can be packed with chilli pepper in order to harm the enemy, and other weapons already exist featuring ammo based on a the spice, from pistols to the pepper sprays used by the police.

History:

Christopher Columbus: Humans have been wolfing down chillies since as early as 7500 BC, the first examples of their use crop up in America. Christopher Columbus found them in the Caribbean and decided to name them ‘peppers’, and then brought them back to Europe.

Religion: During the 19th century some Spanish priests assumed chillies were aphrodisiacs and were said to be wary of the passion inspired by chilli peppers, well they were half right. A few preached sermons against indulgence in a food which they said was almost as ‘hot as hell’s brimstone’ and one called it ‘Soup of the Devil’. The priest’s warning probably only further contributed to the dish’s popularity.

Origin: 90% of all chillies cultivated and consumed all over the world are of Mexican origin. Although India is the largest producer of chilli, and people continue to blend chillies together to create more fiery flavours, Mexico is the original home of the volcanic fruit we love.

Type:

Domesticated species: Amongst edible varieties, there are 5 great families of peppers; the spiciest varieties of peppers can be found amongst members of the Capiscum chinense family. The most common are Capsicum annuum, the family which includes cayenne, bell and wax peppers.

Growing tips: If you’ve got plenty of sunshine, heat, water and a high level of humidity you can grow chillies in your garden. What a shame we’ve only got one out of the four in Wales.

Intensity: When capsaicin is ingested the sensory nerves of the mouth and throat send a message to the brain, this causes sweating and the heart rate to automatically increase making chillies one of the most intense taste sensations we can enjoy.

Jalapeño: The Jalapeño is the king of Mexican cooking in all forms. Its use is widespread across the world and is often the favoured topping on your Friday night pizza. It takes its name from Jalapa, the capital of the Mexican state of Veracruz.

Naga viper: The Naga Viper was created by an English chilli farmer in Cumbria; an unstable three-way hybrid produced from the Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia and the Trinidad Scorpion, some of the hottest chillies in the world, no wonder this pepper’s a scorcher. It’s often served up at the local pub and anyone who dares to try it must first sign a waiver. No one has ever managed to finish a plate and its creator takes no responsibility for any damaged caused to the taste buds.

Quantity: Chillies are one of the world’s most common foods by quantity; they come second only to salt. In addition to the huge quantities of it consumed, chillies also contain more vitamin C than oranges.

Spelling: Whether you spell it ‘chile’, ‘chilli’ or ‘chillie’ it doesn’t matter to us because it’s all the same thing, tasty-fiery fruit. In France it’s called ‘piment’, ‘piemento’ in Spain and ‘peperoncino’ in Italy. Oddly with all the variations there’s no actual link to the nation Chile.

Trinidad Moruga Scorpion: Described as having a tender fruit-like flavour making a sweet-hot combination this pepper gradually builds and builds until it’s a blazing furnace in your mouth, for this reason it has also been awarded the title of ‘quite nasty’. With a whopping 2,009,231 Scoville Heat Units this is the hottest chilli pepper in the world as of February 2012.

Yellow Chillies: The ‘hot lemon’ is one of many yellow varieties of chillies and are great when fried or used to make jellies.

Pop Culture:

Cowboys: Jesse James refused to rob a bank in McKinney because his favourite chilli parlour was next to it. Frank and Jesse James reputedly ate a few bowls of ‘red’ before pulling many of their bank jobs. McKinney was spared from their criminal activities because of the local chilli parlour. They vowed never to rob the McKinney town bank, because ‘any place that has a chilli joint like this just oughta be treated better.’

Karate: Japanese samurai ate chillies as part of a ritual meal before battles in order to reduce the amount of fear they felt, the intense taste of the chilli peppers made them feel invincible.

Movies: Lasse Hallstrom directed the 2000 film Chocolat, starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche: the infusion of hot chocolate and peppers reawakens the passions of a French farmer.

Christmas trees: When you’re decorating the Christmas tree this year don’t forget the chilli peppers. In Mexico coloured baubles, lights and tinsel are left in the attic and the Christmas tree is instead decorated with red, orange and green chilli peppers.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: The LA rock band took their name directly from the fiery pepper, in his autobiography Anthony Kiedis explains the link to chilli peppers as follows: ‘If, to you, chilli peppers are a feeling, a sensation or a form of energy, then you’ve guessed right.’

Aphrodisiac: The properties in chilli peppers act as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow, lowering inhibitions and improving male sexual performance. Adding a pinch of chilli pepper to your dinner is a good idea all round.

Happiness: We continue eating chillies even though they burn, the reason for this is chillies make us feel good. The burning sensation sends a message to the brain to release endorphins to reduce the pain, the upshot of endorphins is that as well as relieving pain, they make you feel happy.

If you’ve read this all the way though you’re an official chilli buff, now that you’ve wised up on your chilli trivia why not take our pub quiz.

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