Trivia Tuesday: Red hot chilli peppers

red-hot-chilli-peppersDid you know that chillies are native to South America?

I always assumed that they originated from Asia because of the liberal use of chilli in many Asian dishes but this is not the case.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Chili peppers have been a part of the human diet in the Americas since at least 7500 BC. There is archaeological evidence at sites located in southwestern Ecuador that chili peppers were domesticated more than 6000 years ago,[2][3] and is one of the first cultivated crops in the Central and South Americas[4] that is self-pollinating.

Christopher Columbus was one of the first Europeans to encounter them (in the Caribbean), and called them ‘peppers’ because they, like black and white pepper of the Piper genus known in Europe, have a spicy hot taste unlike other foodstuffs. Upon their introduction into Europe chilis were grown as botanical curiosities in the gardens of Spanish and Portuguese monasteries. But the monks experimented with the chilis’ culinary potential and discovered that their pungency offered a substitute for black peppercorns, which at the time were so costly that they were used as legal currency in some countries.[5]

Chilies were cultivated around the globe after Columbus.[6][7] Diego Álvarez Chanca, a physician on Columbus’ second voyage to the West Indies in 1493, brought the first chili peppers to Spain, and first wrote about their medicinal effects in 1494.

From Mexico, at the time the Spanish colony that controlled commerce with Asia, chili peppers spread rapidly into the Philippines and then to IndiaChinaIndonesiaKorea and Japan. They were incorporated into the local cuisines.

An alternate account for the spread of chili peppers is that the Portuguese got the pepper from Spain, and cultivated it in India.[8] The chili pepper figures heavily in the cuisine of the Goan region of India, which was the site of a Portuguese colony (e.g., vindaloo, an Indian interpretation of a Portuguese dish). Chili peppers journeyed from India, through Central Asia and Turkey, to Hungary, where it became the national spice in the form of paprika.

One Response to “Trivia Tuesday: Red hot chilli peppers”
  1. aims says:

    chili makes everything more yum

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