Cayenne Chile Pepper Stats
Length: 2 - 5"
Scientific Name: Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum fastigiatum, Capsicum annuum
Other Names: guinea spice, cow horn pepper, aleva, bird pepper, red pepper
Scoville Range: 30,000 - 50,000
Cayenne Chile Pepper Origin and History
The word "cayenne" comes from the city and river of that name in the country of French Guiana. Cayenne is native to Central and South America and East Africa; it was a major food of the Aztec and Mayan people thousands of years ago. Cayenne peppers now grow in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, including Zanzibar, India, Mexico, and in the warm regions of the United States.
Cayenne Chile Pepper Description
Cayenne plants are 2 to 4 feet tall and bear slender, aromatic, wrinkled pods that are hot, pungent, and biting. The flowers are yellow or white, and are often drooping. The long hollow pods turn bright red, green, orange, or yellow when ripe.
Most cayenne chiles go into making ground cayenne. The commercially available cayenne pepper spice may actually consist of peppers from a variety of plants. In some uses "cayenne" refers to hot peppers in general.
Cayenne Chile Pepper How to Serve or Use
Cayenne has both culinary and medicinal uses. Dried flakes or powder are popular components of hot sauces and are made from the fruit and sometimes the seeds. They are sometimes also sprinkled over sauces to add a little heat like with a hollandaise sauce.
Cayenne has the same heat intensity as Tabasco sauce. Cooks may substitute cayenne for Tabasco to get the pure heat without the extra vinegar. The powder and flakes provide heat in a wide range of dishes from a variety of cuisines. Cayenne spices go well with cheese, eggs, corn, shellfish, onions, peppers, potatoes, rice, tomatoes—and many other foods. Because of its heat, cayenne should be used sparingly, and not confused with paprika or chili powder.
Cayenne is a popular herbal remedy for improving blood circulation, lowering cholesterol, and helping heal ulcers, and has many other healing properties. The capsicum in cayenne is also an effective painkiller. Cayenne powder is high in vitamin A, contains vitamins C, B1, and B2, is low in cholesterol and sodium, and is a very good source of dietary fiber. As an herbal remedy, cayenne comes in the form of extracts, tinctures, powder, capsules, and creams. The lemonade diet, a dietary cleanse, is a mix of cayenne powder, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
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