. . . cooking recipes, cookery, food, cooking vacations  


Chile facts ~ Chili facts ~ Chilli facts
by Jane Butel

"Whenever I meet someone who does not consider chili a favorite dish, then I've usually found someone who has never tasted good chili." ~ Jane Butel

Jane Butel
Chile, chili, and chilli . . . which is correct?

The word “chile” is derived from the Aztec language and refers to Capsicum peppers in Central America including Mexico, and in several parts of the southwestern United States.

The word “chili” is thought to be the anglicised form of “chile” and is now commonly use to describe pungent types of Capsicum peppers in the United States.

Similarly, the words “chilli” or “chillies” are used in Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

Chiles are probably the most captivating and healthy fruit. They have the unique ability to produce capsaicin, the health producing substance.

Chiles can make one lose weight and get a high equal to a runner's high or even sex.

Green Chilis Chiles help nearly every organ in the human body, making them healthier and preventing the wear and tear from stress.

Chiles are actually a fruit and are often misunderstood.

Many never get to experience the healthful benefits of frequent consumption because they are afraid of the spiciness or worse yet, they believe the old wives tales about chiles being hard to digest or causing ulcers. All untrue of course. Chiles actually cauterize ulcers.

Each person is an individual with an individual palate. What is stimulating to one person may just barely be spicy to another.

Since chiles are habit forming, the more one eats them, the more one will want to eat , and increasingly hotter chiles will be desired.

Red Chilis Those of us who have been "exposed" to chiles early in life, are constantly on a quest for a daily chile fix. Those who have not had the opportunity to eat chiles have much less tolerance for capsaicin. However, it is never too late to start a daily habit of chile eating and develop one's own "chile drive." (Reprinted from "Real Women Eat Chiles" by Jane Butel)

The hotter the chiles one eats, the healthier they are because hotter chiles have greater capsaicin levels. Capsaicin is the unique substance that only chiles possess.

Chiles can be too hot for a person, especially the uninitiated. It is always best to start milder.

To calm an overheated palate, eat sweet, dairy, fried or acidic foods such as limes or lemons.

When preparing hot chiles, the best cure is prevention. Handle the capsaicin bearing parts the least, holding the chiles by the stem, not touching the inside of the chile.

Broader shoulders and blunter tipped chiles are milder than narrow shouldered, pointed tip ones.

This article comes from Jane Butel.

Jane Butel, the first to write about southwestern cooking, is an internationally recognized authority on the regional cooking of the American Southwest. In the late 1970s, following a successful career as one of America's top Consumer Affairs executives, she launched her southwestern writing, teaching, television, consulting, and spice business. Her South-western Cooking Schools in New Mexico and Arizona have garnered high recognition. Bon Appetit magazine selected it as one of the four best in the world and Gayout.com listed her hotel-based schools as the best in the United States and one of the world's top ten. She also conducts tours to Mexico and Spain. Pecos Valley Spice Co, a trusted source for chiles, spices, and other authentic southwestern ingredients, was founded in 1978. She continues to spice up America's favorite cuisine with the recipes from the rich culinary, cultural, and historical heritage of the Southwest. She has written seventeen cookbooks, including Hotter Than Hell: Hot and Spicy Dishes from Around the World.

Jane operates her own site-based Cooking Schools, which have been recognized far and wide for their quality of instruction. Jane's Cooking School specializes in week long and weekend full participation classes on New Mexican and Southwestern cooking.

If you would like to know more about Janes' most recent book, Real Women Eat Chiles, then click here.