Crushed red pepper

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Crushed red pepper

Crushed red pepper or red pepper flakes is a condiment or spice[1] consisting of dried and crushed (as opposed to ground) red chili peppers. This condiment is most often produced from cayenne-type peppers, although commercial producers may use a variety of different cultivars, usually within the 30,000–50,000 Scoville unit range.[2] Often there is a high ratio of seeds, which are erroneously believed to contain the most heat.[3] Crushed red pepper is used by food manufacturers in pickling blends, chowders, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, soups and sausage.

Crushed red pepper in Turkey, served as a common condiment with very few seeds, is known as pul biber. One specially prepared variety of it is the urfa pul biber (isot).

Background[edit]

Crushed red pepper, known for its spicy heat, comes with a range of capsicum peppers.[4] Red pepper chilis originally start off green before ripening into an orange-red to deep dark red color, are best grown in the summer months, between 70 to 84 degrees and sunny weather.[4] One or multiple red chiles pepper—up to four cultivars—can be used to create crushed red pepper.[5] Jalapeños, serranos and Anaheim chilis are some of the most commonly used chilies to make crushed red pepper.[5] Crushed red pepper are frequently found in a variety of dishes including Italian, Indian, Mexican and Caribbean.[4]

Over time, crushed red pepper loses its spiciness level and typically lasts up to 12 to 18 months.[6] Today, China and Turkey are among the top countries to produce crushed red pepper.[5]

History[edit]

Red chili peppers, which are a part of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, were first found in Central and South America and have been harvested for use since about 7,500 BC.[4] Spanish explorers were introduced to the pepper while on a search for black pepper.[4] Once brought back to Europe, the red peppers were traded in Asian countries and enjoyed primarily by Indian cooks.[4] The village of Bukovo, North Macedonia, is often credited with the creation of crushed red pepper.[5] The name of the village—or a derivative of it—is now used as a name for crushed red pepper in general in many Southeast European languages: "буковска пипер/буковец" (bukovska piper/bukovec, Macedonian), "bukovka" (Serbo-Croatian and Slovene) and "μπούκοβο" (búkovo, Greek).

Southern Italians popularized crushed red pepper beginning in the 19th century and heavily used them in the U.S. when they migrated over.[5] Crushed red pepper was served with dishes at some of the oldest Italian restaurants in the U.S.[5] Crushed red pepper shakers have become a standard on tables at Mediterranean restaurants—and especially pizza parlors—around the world.[7]

Health benefits[edit]

The source of bright red color that the peppers hold comes from carotenoids.[8] Crushed red pepper also has antioxidants that are thought to help fight off heart disease and cancer.[8] In addition, crushed red pepper contains vitamins A, C, and B6, fiber, and capsaicin, the source of the heat in pepper chilis.[5] Capsaicin is believed to help kill off prostate cancer cells, serve as an appetite suppressant which can contribute to weight loss, improve digestion[8] and can help prevent diabetes and constipation.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bray, Matt (August 17, 2019). "Red Pepper Flakes Vs. Crushed Red Pepper: PepperScale Showdown". PepperScale. Cindermint, LLC. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  2. ^ Bovino, Arthur (April 10, 2012). "What Are Crushed Red Pepper Flakes?". The Daily Meal. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  3. ^ Gallary, Christine. "No, the Seeds Are Not the Spicy Part of a Chili Pepper". Kitchn. Apartment Therapy, LLC. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Institute, McCormick Science. "Red Pepper". McCormick Science Institute. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Red Pepper Flakes: The Macedonian Take On Chili Peppers". SPICEography. 2018-07-25. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  6. ^ Werner, Tommy. "All About Red Pepper Flakes | Epicurious". www.epicurious.com. Retrieved 2021-04-21.
  7. ^ Best, Cooked (July 2020). "All About Red Pepper Flakes". Cooked Best. Cooked Best.
  8. ^ a b c Bray, Matt (2019-01-19). "Crushed Red Pepper Nutrition - How Healthy Is It?". PepperScale. Retrieved 2021-04-21.