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Hot Present Ideas

Chilli peppers are a type of vegetable and can be orange, red, yellow, green or even black in colour. Over 200 varieties of chilli peppers exist, and these can vary considerably in size, heat intensity and colour. With a plethora of recipes for hot chilli dishes available online, the trend towards chilli consumption is growing, as is demand for bottled chilli peppers, chilli relishes, chilli sauces and other such chilli-based products you might find in Mexican luxury chilli sets. And with the festive season fast approaching, a chilli set might make the ideal present for the hot food enthusiast in your family.

Present Ideas

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Chilli peppers can be bought fresh or dried. The dried versions can come as flakes or chilli powder. They can also be preserved in oil. When you are buying them fresh, they usually have a heat scale as a guide. Some of the most common chilli varieties are: Poblano, Mulato Isleño, Ortega, Chipotle, Pasillas, Jalapeños, Tabasco, Bird’s-eye, Habañero and Scotch Bonnet.

The Scoville Scale

As a rule, it appears that the smaller the chilli, the hotter it is, but individual chilli peppers from a plant can actually have various levels of capsaicin – this is the name for the thing inside a chilli that provides the heat. The Scoville scale, which was created by Wilbur Scoville in 1912, is the official heat scale for chillies. Sweet chilli peppers score zero on the scale, while chipotle and Jalapeño types of chilli can be graded at up to 10,000. Scotch bonnet and Habañero chillies, meanwhile, can register up to 300,000 or more on the scale.

Recipe Ideas

Chillies work really well in both sweet and savoury dishes. In sweet dishes, the chilli flavour can detract from the richness of chocolate, for example. Interesting recipes include: spicy slow-cooked chilli; creamy white chicken chilli; pumpkin turkey chilli and chocolate and chilli mousse. Chilli pepper suppliers such as Jimmy Gingers also provide ideas for recipes: traditional chilli con carne; yummy chicken wings; smoking Chipotle chicken; luscious mango salmon; chilli cheese toastie; and Baharat lamb kebab.

With chilli peppers available in so many formats (fresh, dried, in oil, relishes, sauces and rubs) and in so many different varieties, there is bound to be something to please every palate. Not only do chilli peppers taste great, but they also have an interesting history with roots in the Americas.

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