Long red chillies are a staple ingredient in many cuisines around the world. These hot peppers are often used to add heat and depth to dishes ranging from soups and stews to sauces and marinades. But with so many different types of chilli available, it can be difficult to know exactly how hot long red chillies are. In this article, we’ll explore the heat levels of these fiery peppers and help you understand just how much spice they can add to your cooking.
The Scoville Scale: Understanding heat levels
One way of measuring the heat of chillies is to use the Scoville scale. This is a system that assigns a numerical value to the amount of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in chillies. The scale ranges from 0 (no heat) to over 2 million (extremely hot). The higher the number, the hotter the chilli.
To give you an idea of where long red chillies fall on the Scoville scale, let’s compare them with some other popular chillies. Jalapeño peppers, commonly used in Mexican cooking, typically range from 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale. Thai bird’s eye chillies, often used in South East Asian cooking, can range from 50,000 to 100,000.
Long red chillies, on the other hand, can vary in heat depending on the variety. Some long red chillies, such as cayenne pepper, can range from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale. Others, such as the Fresno pepper, can range from 2,500 to 10,000. While long red chillies are generally considered to be moderately hot, it’s important to note that individual peppers can vary in heat, even within the same variety.
Capsaicin: The compound that makes chillies hot
The compound responsible for the heat in chillies is called capsaicin. This naturally occurring chemical is found in the white pith and seeds of the pepper, as well as in the flesh. When you eat a chilli, the capsaicin binds to receptors in your mouth and throat, causing a sensation of heat and pain.
Interestingly, capsaicin doesn’t actually cause any physical damage to your tissues. Instead, it tricks your brain into thinking it’s experiencing heat. That’s why eating chillies can cause sweating, flushing and an increased heart rate – your body reacts as if it’s trying to cool down.
Capsaicin also has some potential health benefits. It’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may even help relieve pain. But as with anything, moderation is the key. Eating too many spicy foods can cause digestive upset and even damage the lining of your stomach.
Long red chillies: Varieties and heat levels
There are many different varieties of long red chillies, each with its own unique flavour and heat level. Here are some of the more common varieties:
- Cayenne pepper: This is a long, thin chilli pepper with a curved tip. It’s commonly used in hot sauces and can range from 30,000 to 50,000 on the Scoville scale.
- Fresno pepper: This is a medium-sized chilli similar in shape to a jalapeño. It can range from 2,500 to 10,000 on the Scoville scale.
- Thai long chilli: This is a hot chilli commonly used in Thai cuisine. It’s thin and can grow up to 6 inches long. It can range from 50,000 to 100,000 on the Scoville scale.
- Serrano pepper: This is a small, thin chilli often used in Mexican cuisine. It can range from 10,000 to 23,000 on the Scoville scale.
- Red cherry pepper: This is a small, round chilli that’s often used in pickling. It’s relatively mild and can range from 0 to 500 on the Scoville scale.
When cooking with long red chillies, it’s important to remember their individual levels of heat. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, you may want to avoid the hotter varieties or use them in smaller quantities. On the other hand, if you love heat, you can experiment with different types of long red chillies to find your preferred level of heat. And remember, the heat of chillies can vary even within the same variety, so it’s always a good idea to taste a small piece before adding it to your dish.
Cooking with long red chillies: Tips and tricks
Long red chillies can be a great way to add heat and flavour to your cooking. Here are some tips and tricks for cooking with these fiery peppers:
- Handling chillies: When handling long red chillies, wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after touching them. Capsaicin can remain on the skin and cause irritation, especially around the eyes or mouth.
- Remove the seeds: If you want to reduce the heat of long red chillies, you can remove the seeds before cooking. Simply cut the chilli in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a spoon.
- Roasting and grilling: Roasting or grilling long red chillies can help mellow their heat and bring out their natural sweetness. Simply place the chillies on a baking tray or grill pan and cook until they’re charred and blistered.
- Add to dishes: Long red chillies can be added to a variety of dishes, including soups, stews, stir-fries and marinades. Remember that a little goes a long way – start with a small amount and add more as needed.
- Pairing with other flavours: Long red chillies work well with a variety of other flavours, including citrus, garlic, ginger and herbs such as coriander and basil. Mixing and matching different flavours can help balance the heat and create a well-rounded dish.
By following these tips and tricks, you can confidently incorporate long red chillies into your cooking and enjoy the unique flavour and heat they bring to your dishes.
Cooling the burn: remedies for chilli heat
If you’ve ever eaten something too hot, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Fortunately, there are some remedies that can help cool the burn and soothe your mouth. Here are some of the most effective remedies for chilli heat:
- Dairy products: Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese can help neutralise the heat of chillies. The fat in these foods helps dissolve the capsaicin and soothes your mouth.
- Bread and rice: Starchy foods like bread and rice can help absorb some of the capsaicin and reduce the heat in your mouth.
- Sugar: A small amount of sugar can help counteract the heat of chilli peppers. You can try adding a teaspoon of sugar to a spicy dish to help balance the flavours.
- Acidic foods: Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and vinegar, can help cut through the heat of chillies and bring balance to a dish.
- Water: While water won’t actually help neutralise the heat of chillies, it can help to rinse out your mouth and provide temporary relief.
It’s important to note that drinking water alone can actually make the burn worse, as capsaicin is not water-soluble. So if you’re looking for relief from spicy foods, try one of these remedies instead.
By keeping these remedies in mind, you can experiment with different levels of spiciness in your cooking without worrying about the discomfort it can cause. Whether you’re a spice lover or prefer milder flavours, there’s always a way to enjoy the unique heat and flavour of long red chillies.
In conclusion, long red chillies can add a delicious and spicy kick to a wide variety of dishes. Understanding the heat levels of different varieties, as well as the properties of capsaicin, can help you appreciate the flavours and sensations of spicy foods.
Whether you’re a fan of spicy foods or prefer milder flavours, there are ways to enjoy long red chillies in your cooking. By experimenting with different types of chillies and using additives such as dairy products, starchy foods and acidic ingredients, you can find the perfect balance of heat and flavour to suit your taste.
So next time you’re in the kitchen, don’t be afraid to spice things up with a few long red chillies. With a little knowledge and experimentation, you can create delicious and flavourful dishes that are sure to impress.
What is the Scoville Scale?
The Scoville Scale is a system that assigns a numerical value to the amount of capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in chillies.
What is capsaicin?
Capsaicin is the compound responsible for the heat in chillies. It binds to receptors in your mouth and throat, triggering a sensation of heat and pain.
What are some common types of long red chillies?
Common types of long red chillies include cayenne pepper, Fresno pepper, Thai long chilli, serrano pepper, and red cherry pepper.
How can you reduce the heat of long red chillies?
You can reduce the heat of long red chillies by removing the seeds before cooking or adding dairy, starchy foods, or acidic ingredients to your dish.
Are long red chillies suitable for people who are sensitive to spicy foods?
Long red chillies can vary in heat level depending on the specific type, so it’s important to start with a small amount and add more as needed. If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, you may want to avoid the hotter varieties or use them in smaller quantities.