Chilli peppers have been around for thousands of years yet they are still unfortunately little known in Europe despite a plethora of growers and chilli optimists that can be found in the US, Australia, Africa and of course Asia.  


The UK has definitely taken the reins though (along with Spain) and with numerous chilli growers and hot sauce, chilli chutneys, chilli crisps or curry pastes’ manufacturers, most British people now take an interest in chillies, maybe not in the chilli fruit itself but it does have a part in their every day life in the shape of chilli mayonnaise or fresh chilli from the supermarket to put in stir-fries, chilli con carne or curry. 


Only one thing comes to mind for most people when they hear about chillies though: chillies are hot. Well believe us, that is really just the tip of the iceberg. 


Chillies are the essential ingredient in many international dishes not only for their heat of course but also and mainly because of their wonderful flavour that varies much more than you might think. Just like some apples are very sweet and others quite bitter, chillies are either sweet or savoury which is why only certain types are used in Asian, Mexican, African or Indian dishes. Some European recipes are starting to evolve to include chillies, especially since famous chefs are promoting their culinary uses on telly every day. 


But there are other factors in the ever-increasing popularity of chillies. Just like roller-coasters or watching a horror movie, human beings like being scared or taking calculated risks. Hell, most of the greatest things ever achieved come from bold individuals that decided to jump off a cliff with a new type of parachute or eat an elongated fruit that no-one had ever tasted before... Biting a chilli despite the often excruciating consequences doesn't deter most chilli heads and, like a drug (but at least a healthy one!) they come back for more, just to get that thrill again and again. 


A lot of studies also show that chillies and more precisely capcaisin, the element that makes chillies hot, is beneficial to the human body. Indeed, it increases the metabolism which promotes weight loss, it gets rid of toxins by making you sweat and it is also a very effective topical analgesic agent which is vital to help with arthritis pain, herpes, headaches and many more ailments rights down (or so it is believed) to being a possible cure to Pancreas Cancer... 


On a smaller scale but no less important to the people who use this system, in African and South Asia farmers have realised that chillies spread on fences and buildings can deter elephants who have a very sensitive olfactory system therefore protecting crops. 


So if that doesn't convince you just get yourself a bunch of different chillies, mild types such a Jalapeno, Tabasco, Big Jim and Cayenne or for the adventurers amongst you try the fiery Naga, Habanero, Scotch Bonnet or Trininad Scorpion and see if you don't notice a difference in your overall health if not your taste for more spicy food!



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