Pepper belongs to the nightshade family Solanaceae, and is a fruit of the genus Capsicum. Christopher Columbus named them so, because he found their taste similar to the Old World black peppers. Columbus's voyage spread the plantations all over Spain and America as well, from where every explorer carried it with them to different shores of the world.
The Different Varieties
The categorization can be done as sweet, mildly hot, and hot. To scale their spiciness, in 1912, Wilbur Scoville, an American chemist invented the Scoville Heat Index(SHI), that ranks them in the order from the mildest to the hottest. The index starts from a zero range and goes over 1,000,000, to indicate the level of spice.
Bell : They are very mild in taste and flavor, and are marked on the Scoville heat index as a zero. They come in different colors of red, yellow, and orange. They are usually eaten as salads, and are the favored ones for children's meals.
Pimento : They are also known as cherry peppers, and are used for their mildness. They score about a 500 on SHI. They are red in color and heart-shaped, measuring about 7 to 10 cm long and 5 to 7 cm wide. The flesh is succulent and sweet, and more aromatic than that of others. The flesh is used as a filling inside olives.
On the Scoville heat index, they score around 5,000, but can vary anywhere between 2,000 to 8,000, depending upon the places and strain from which it has been cultivated.
They score about 5,000 on the Scoville heat index, but some varieties score less than a thousand. Besides culinary use, they are used as a decorative object, as they are stringed together as wall hangings during important festivals and occasions.
They come in a variety of colors, such as green, yellow, pink, or red, and are only three centimeters long. However, let the size not fool you, they are the hottest, and are meant only for those with very strong stomachs.
They are used to add heat and a dash of color to the food. Due to their health benefits, they are widely used as a vital ingredient for natural medicines.
Peppers are a great way to spice up your meals. It is best to understand the level of spiciness, to know which type would enhance the flavor of the food. Not only can you control the level of spice by your using from the variety, you can add lots of color to the food as well!