Hot Peppers

Brightly colored, flavorful plants in the nightshade family that cause a spicy sensation when consumed.

The term "hot pepper" or chili pepper covers a variety of peppers that cause a heat-inducing sensation when eaten or touched. The heat sensation is caused by the compound capsaicin, which gives the peppers their pungency and spiciness. Capsaicin is a hardy compound that is resistant to temperature changes, so cooking or freezing the pepper won't diminish the hot pepper's intensity. However most of the pepper's capsaicin is concentrated in its seeds and seed membranes (the white flesh that the seeds are attached to), so trimming and discarding those pieces can reduce the pepper's heat level. Smaller peppers contain a higher proportion of the seeds and membranes, so usually the larger the size of the pepper the milder the heat level. Common varieties of hot peppers include jalapeño, serrano, habanero, and bird's eye.

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