From mild, sweet chillies to the ultimate kick-ass chilli for real chilli heads, it pays to know your Kashmiri from your Cayenne so that you can choose the right one for you and your guests.

Grown all over the world, Chilli plants vary considerably in size, appearance and heat and are mainly one of Capsicum annuum, Capsicum frutescens or Capsicum chinense. The aroma and flavour of fresh chillies is distinctly capsicum-like, with a hint of sweetness. Their pungent bite comes from the levels of capsaicin present in the fruit which causes the brain to release endorphins and so feelings of wellbeing.

The Scoville Scale, devised in 1912 by pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, is used to determine the heat of a chilli by describing how many drops of sugar water it would take to dilute the heat of a given pepper. The scale is divided into units called Scoville Heat Units where 0 is a bell pepper, all the way up to over a million for some of the most pungent ones. Naga Jolokia, which is our most fierce chilli, was ranked World’s Hottest Chilli in the 2007 Guinness Book of records, so do watch out!

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Cooking with Chillies

Mexican Bowl with Avocado salsa – a delicious plant-based recipe full of vegetables and a good kick from the chilli flakes

Hot Spicy beans – some of our chillies are blended with other spices to create unique seasonings. Here our Texas Chilli Seasoning blends chilli with cumin, basil, thyme and oregano for that authentic Southern taste.

Try spicing up your eggs with some cayenne on this delicious Huevos Rancheros with Guacamole recipe from Hemsley & Hemsley or use one of the milder blends on Nikibakes’ Turkish Style Poached Eggs.

Our Roasted Vegetable Shawarma with habanero sauce makes the most of one of our hotter chillies and for those who like is really hot, why not try a hot rub of Cayenne and Mexican Chile powder on our Flaming Roast Chicken dish?

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