Posted by Bangzkie Friday, February 17, 2012
Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas where they have been cultivated for thousands of years, but they are now also cultivated worldwide, used as spices, vegetables, and medicines, and have become a key element in many regional cuisines.The fruit of Capsicum plants have a variety of names depending on place and type. They are commonly called chili pepper, red or green pepper in North America, or sweet pepper in Britain, and typically just "capsicum" in Australia, New Zealand, and India. The large mild form is called bell pepper in the U.S. and Canada. They are called paprika in some other countries (although paprika can also refer to the powdered spice made from various capsicum fruit).
Capsaicin The fruit of most species of Capsicum contains capsaicin (methyl vanillyl nonenamide), a lipophilic chemical that can produce a strong burning sensation in the mouth of the unaccustomed eater. Most mammals find this unpleasant, whereas birds are unaffected.
Capsicum fruits and peppers can be eaten raw or cooked. Those used in cooking are generally varieties of the C. annuum and C. frutescens species, though a few others are used as well. They are suitable for stuffing with fillings such as cheese, meat or rice. They are also frequently used both chopped and raw in salads, or cooked in stir-fries or other mixed dishes. They can be sliced into strips and fried, roasted whole or in pieces, or chopped and incorporated into salsas or other sauces, of which they are often a main ingredient.They can be preserved in the form of a jam, or by drying, pickling or freezing. Dried peppers may be reconstituted whole, or processed into flakes or powders. Pickled or marinated peppers are frequently added to sandwiches or salads. Frozen peppers are used in stews, soups, and salsas. Extracts can be made and incorporated into hot sauces.