Today's topic is all about cayenne pepper. You might have encountered multiple terms like ground cayenne, cayenne powder, and powdered cayenne. And many of you already know that all of these refer to a single ingredient: ' 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 famous worldwide.
Here is everything you need to know about the Cayenne pepper, a rich flavored spice already in millions of homes.
What are cayenne peppers?
These are moderately hot chili peppers from 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 from the same plant.
The skin and the flesh are 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 India.
Like other peppers, their color turns from green to yellow and red as they mature. Ripe red cayenne peppers have bright and intense smoky flavors, which are most sought after by the food industries.
Cayenne pepper is available mainly as powdered or chili flakes in the consumer market. Fresh peppers are rare in regular grocery stores or the farmer’s market.
Occasionally, it may be available in specialty stores during the harvest season-late summer through fall. Its pungency, perfect drying capability, and warm heat make this the most desirable chili pepper for spice mixes or hot sauces.
How hot are cayenne peppers?
This is considered a moderately hot chili pepper that measures 30,000 to 50,000 heat units in the Scoville scale(a standard method for measuring the heat level).
Just to make a comparison, jalapeño’s Scoville scale heat units range from 5000 to 7000 SHU. The 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 is fiery hot.
Always proceed with caution, if you are sensitive towards the hot peppers.
Is cayenne pepper and paprika the same?
This medium hot spice mix is usually made with a blend of cayenne pepper and Birdseye pepper. Whereas, paprika is available in three forms: hot and Hungarian.
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.
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: Grind finely to make dry rubs and unique spice blends. Great to use in spicy curries and chilies.