El Amanecer Restaurant

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March 30 2008

Lord King Pakal Ruler of the Maya City of Palenque
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Chiles " Hot Pepers " History

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History of Chilies

Chilies originally come from the tropical Americas ,

and differ from one another by color (green, yellow or red),

shape (long or bell-shaped), and taste (sweet or spicy).

In his voyages to America , Christopher Columbus, among other things,

was looking for black pepper and instead found spicy chilies.

Columbus called the chilies "peppers", relating them mistakenly with pepper.

Once back in Europe , chilies spread through Asia and Africa and after about one century,

were being used as condiments for dished in a variety of regions around the world.


thrived so well in these new lands that soon the American origin of the plant was forgotten.

So much so, that in many places throughout Africa and India chili

was believed to have originated in those regions.

Chili richens kitchens in a considerable part of the world.

In North and South America , the Caribbean , Asia , Africa different villages

and cultures continue to consume the chili spices with such frequency and pleasure

that they have no reason to envy Mexicans.

The jalapeņo chili owes its name to the Mexican city of Jalapa , capital of Veracruz .

Today, the jalapeņo chili demand is strongly on the rise (almost 20% annually).

One of the places were it has become very popular is the United States.

Why Are Some Chilies Spicy?

Chilies contain a substance called capsaicin, which is responsible for the spiciness. The capsaicin has no smell or odor, it only stimulates the liberation of neurotransmitters which stimulate the receptive points for pain on the tongue and mouth. As a response to this stimulus, the brain discharges endorphins, the metabolism increases, more saliva is released and we sweat.

The capsaicin concentration in chilies is measured in Scoville units. For example: a sweet chili has 0 Scoville units, a jalapeño has 3,500 to 9,000 Scoville units, an habanero has from 200,000 to 300,000 Scoville units.

Nutritional and Health Properties

The presence of capsaicin in jalapenos chilies makes them have great value in the human diet. jalapenos chilies have an excellent content of potassium, vitamin A and C, the also have a low sodium content. In addition, they have iron, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

A meal with chilies speeds up the metabolic rhythm in about 25 %, which provokes additional consumption of 45 calories. Hot chilies should be included along with cottage cheese and apricots as foods for weight loss. There is not a tastier way to reduce fats in your diet and burn some extra pounds. The jalapeño is excellent for adding flavor to foods without adding a single gram of fat.

The American Society for Digestive Diseases found that spicy foods do no harm to ulcers or the stomach. In fact, foods with chili improve the digestion, increasing the production of saliva and gastric juices. Capsaicin on the stomach walls creates a cortex which protects against damages produced by acids and alcohol; in addition, there is evidence that capsaicin can reduce arterial pressure.

In Thailand , jalapeño chilies were found to contain anticoagulants, which allow constant blood flow (without clots), reducing the possibility of a heart attack. There are also investigations concerning the ability of the jalapeño to reduce cholesterol levels.

At the same time, jalapeños have been reported as acting like aphrodisiacs.

The capsaicin contained in spicy chilies is a powerful antioxidant, which interferes with the free radicals' chain reaction, guilty for the aging process. Recent studies suspect that capsaicin could destroy cancerous cells before these cause problems. Likewise, capsaicin is a natural expectorant and decongester, helping to prevent bronchitis and emphysema.

So, as you can see, there are many reasons to enjoy consuming jalapenos chilies even more if you have already included them in your diet; and if they are not a part of you meals, we suggest that you include them regularly

Different Types of Chilies

Jalape Peppers

Jalape The world's most flavorful chilies, constitute one of the most representative ingredients of Mexican cuisine. There are many different types of chilies, but the most popular and most used in Mexican cooking is the Jalapeño. Originally grown in Jalapa , a region in the Mexican state of Veracruz (Golf of Mexico), the popularity of this chili has grown beyond its original boundaries. The Jalapeño (a chili of the plant family Capsaicum) derives its bite or heat from capsaicun, a potent chemical that survives both the cooking and freezing processes.

Jalapenos can be added to anything to spice it up. The fierceness does not detract from the flavor of food, it enhances its nuances and tastes. The Jalapeño is conical in shape, tapered at the tip, more rounded than pointed. Average measures 6-8 cm (2-3 inches) in length and 3-5 cm (1-2 inches) in diameter. Intense green color, smooth texture, thick and meaty skin, it is aromatic and has a pleasant green veggie flavor, slightly biting. The seeds and veins retain heat, removing them will make the chili slightly less hot. Canned jalapeños can be found whole, sliced or nacho to satisfy any cooking or consumption habits.

Green and Red Jalape Peppers

The green jalapenos has a spicy, vegetable taste, while the red hot jalapenos a matured green, has a sweet, fruity flavor.

Serrano Peppers

Serrano Peppers - literally meaning from the highland or mountain (where they are believed to have originated), these are the traditional Mexican HOT pepper. Serrano Pepper Characteristics- Long, conical shape, with tapering rounded end, length is 2-5 cm (1-2 inches) long, just under 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) wide. Bright dark green, with no blemishes, thick firm skin. Its thick flesh and spicy seeds leave you with a clean-biting, pleasantly spicy taste. Most common uses are in salsa, sauces, guacamole, or anything that needs to be "spiced up".

Chipotle Peppers

A chipotle pepper is a red Jalapenos chili, ripened, dried, and smoked through a special process. Derived from the Aztec word meaning smoke, jalapeños are placed over huge pits and smoke is blown through tunnels running underground. Chipotle Characteristics - A unique warm heat and smoky flavor, chipotles are packed in a red adobo sauce made from lightly seasoned tomato broth. San Marcos chipotles are completely shielded from all the elements during processing to produce an exceptional product. Tan - brown, veined and ridged, they are 5-10 cm (2-4 inches) long and 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Medium-thick fleshed, with a subtle deep rounded heat, they are excellent in sauces, soups, and as a seasoning

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