Today's topic is all about cayenne pepper. You might have come across multiple terms like ground cayenne, cayenne powder, powdered cayenne. And many of you already know that all of these refer to a single ingredient, that’s ‘cayenne pepper’.
The cayenne pepper is one of the staple ingredients in the western continent. It’s bright, bold, and spicy, and provides complex smoky flavors that make them popular around the work.
Here is everything you need to know about the Cayenne pepper, a rich flavored spice that's already in millions of homes.
What are cayenne peppers?
These are moderately hot chili peppers belonging to the 'Capsicum Annuum' family. It has rich flavors and warm heat that makes any food better.
The matured cayenne pepper is about 5-10 inches long and about 0.5-1 width over the shoulder. They have a glossy, slightly wrinkled skin.
They usually taper to the end and have a pointed tip. But the shape varies highly between each pepper, even if they are from the same plant.
The skin and the flesh of the cayenne pepper is thinner than the regular green bell pepper. Hence these are great for drying or dehydrating.
An intro to Cayenne pepper
They are widely consumed and grown in Mexico, USA, Africa, and in India.
Like other peppers, cayenne pepper’s color turns from green into yellow and red, as they mature. Ripe red cayenne peppers have bright and intense smoky flavors, which is most sought by the food industries.
In the consumer market, cayenne pepper is mostly available as powdered or in the form of chili flakes. Fresh cayenne peppers are rare to find in the regular grocery stores or in the farmer’s market.
Occasionally it may be available in the specialty stores during the harvest season-late summer through fall. Its pungency, perfect drying capability, and the warm heat makes this most desirable chili pepper for making spice mixes or hot sauces.
How hot are cayenne peppers?
Cayenne pepper is considered as a moderately hot chili pepper that measures 30,000 to 50,000 heat units in the Scoville scale(a standard method for measuring the level of heat).
Just to make a comparison, jalapeño’s Scoville scale heat units range from 5000 to 7000 SHU. And green bell pepper’s heat unit is measured as 0 SHU.
In the commercial market, cayenne peppers are categorized as medium hot. However, some may feel it as fiery hot.
Always proceed with caution, if are sensitive towards the hot peppers.
Is cayenne pepper and paprika the same?
Cayenne pepper is a medium hot spice mix usually made with a blend of cayenne pepper and Birdseye pepper. Whereas, paprika is available in three different forms-sweet paprika, hot paprika, and Hungarian paprika.
In the above, sweet paprika is mild, hot paprika is moderate, and Hungarian paprika is super hot. For these reasons, check the ingredients label before using.
As red pepper flakes. These do have a thin wall and are easy to dehydrate. Sundry or air dry completely. And grind coarsely. Use them as flakes to spice up the pizza, soup, and sauce.
As the powdered form. And grind finely to make dry rubs and special spice blends. Great to use in spicy curries and chilies.