Gary L. Simmons  rev 03/12/12  http://webwonks.org/Hobbies/Peppers/ChiliPepper.html
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Caribbean Red Habaneros
Red Savino Habanero
Habanero
Bird Mouth
Jalapeno
Serrano
Thai chili
Tobasco
Pictured above (left to right, top to bottom)
Caribbean Red Habañeros, Red Savino Habañeros, Habañero, Bird Mouth
Jalapeño, Serrano, Thai chili, Tobasco


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If you are here you are either a totally crazed, pain frolicking chili geek like me or you are morbidly curious about us or you are lost. You could possibly be dead and not realize it or your body could be inhabited by an evil alien intelligence that is beamed into your jerking and chittering body from a distant galaxy. It just might be that you are a cat or a dog who is sitting in front of the computer while your owner is off eating cheese or taking a shower. What ever the case, you are here and we must deal with that. What the hell was I talking about now? OH! Chili peppers. What is it about these nasty little fruits that make some of us consume them regardless of the pain, runny noses, sweaty foreheads and necks, the red watering eyes and that itching that starts about 3 inches deep in your ears? Why do we bite something that is guaranteed to bite back? I mean isn't this stuff caustic or something? Isn't it harmful to ones body to consume it? What is the square root of 49? Don't know, I give up, no way, not at all and 7. There is an old story about a man who ate a pound of hot chili peppers every day. He died at the age of 105 when the polo pony he was riding fell and rolled on him. Up until that time he was in the peak of health and regularly had sex with the young women who would swarm around him because of the intoxicating aroma his body produced from his regular consumption of chili peppers... Honest. No, really. OK I just made that up but, hey, it could happen!! OK, OK, maybe not but it sure would be neat. Regardless, chilies are not a bit harmful. The pain is caused by the chemical capsaicin. This chemical causes the nerves that register pain to fire. It mimics another chemical that is produced when cells are damaged. No actual damage is done, your nerve endings are just suckered into thinking they are "sitting in lava while getting a napalm enema". This is the chili plants defense to keep from getting eaten. As a defense it is a colossal failure. I have seen insect larva existing solely on chili peppers. In one incident I was at a friends house and we had ordered a pizza. I like lots of red pepper on my pizza so I asked if there was any in the house. They reached way in the back of the cupboard and brought out an old bottle of cayenne pepper. "Good enough" I said and I sprinkled it on a slice about an eighth of an inch deep. As I went to take a bite I noticed my pizza moving. On close inspection I saw dozens and dozens of insect larva writhing on the hot pizza, their little bodies   caked with cayenne pepper. I know now that that is how I want to die. They were all living in that dry little bottle of cayenne pepper. Amazing. How can bugs gorge on chilies? They lack vanilloid receptors, and without that, chilies are as hot to them as apples are to you or I. The important thing is that there is no harm done and in fact consuming chilies is healthful. Chilies cause the blood to implode, no, putrefy, no, coagulate... no no no, what is the word I'm looking for... ENGORGE! It causes the blood vessels to be engorged with soothing life giving blood where ever the chili touches. It is therefore great for digestion and as a topical rub for aches and pains. Very healing. Very soothing in a molten-lead-branding-iron sort of way. capsaicin is used to cure stomach and skin ulcers, as a topical pain relieving rub for sports aches and pains and to relieve arthritis. It is a helpful companion to any orally administered herb. When applied liberally to a criminals eyes, it will cause him to immediately start obeying the law. That is why they put it in pepper spray. I've eaten pepper spray, it would go great on a buritto. Red chilies are richer in vitamin A than carrots, dried green chilies are richer in vitamin C by weight than orange juice. As a fruit they are rich in fiber as well as other vitamins and minerals. Chili consumption causes your metabolism to gear up, you can burn 5% more calories doing the same work as someone who didn't eat chilies. You really should eat more chilies. My current favorite chilies are Thai chilies for the great taste and Habanero chilies for the monster hot. Habanero chilies are the hottest commercially grown pepper available. I grow both varieties in my back yard. I have dried chilies from last years harvest in my kitchen. It never ends, hot hot hot. Over the years I have developed some recipes for chilies. Be advised that these are very hot. Some people say that I can eat these dishes because my taste buds are burned out but that is not the case, I can still detect the nuance of flavors between such delicacies as spent uranium fuel rods and boiling paint remover. Seriously, I have a very fine sense of taste, often amazing my wife by identifying the individual ingredients in a dish by their distinct flavors. It is not true that because I eat Habaneros that a less hot jalapeno pepper is not hot anymore. Even if you are used to getting punched in the nose, a slap in the face is still a slap in the face. Same thing goes for eating hot chilies.

Read the stinging point-counterpoint of the above article!

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