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Cayenne pepper actually gets its name from its place of origin – that being the cayenne region of French Guiana, in Cayenne. It derives from a Tupi Indian name. Today though, it is grown predominantly in India, Mexico, the US, and East Africa.
Chiles themselves of course originated in South America. They have been under cultivation there since prehistoric times!
Today, cayenne pepper is extremely popular owing to its spiciness and its use in a variety of recipes. Cayenne is generally used to add spice and ‘kick’ to a dish, with common examples being the likes of chillies and chutneys. It is a common staple in Mexican cookbooks. It’s also fairly commonly used in Spanish cooking, and if you like serving smaller foods in a ramekin and souffle dish, then it may be one to keep to hand. Likewise, if you like cooking pasta, or using a pizza oven.
Some people like it so much, they fill it into their salt and pepper grinder sets!
Cayenne pepper is a powder that is made by finely grinding the seeds and pods of various types of chillies together. It tastes hot and is much stronger than paprika – it should be used in lower quantities.
Cayenne Pepper Uses and Tips
Cayenne pepper should always be kept out of the sun, due to being affected by the sun. It’s also important that it be purchased in smaller quantities, as it will quickly lose its pungency and is prone to deteriorating quickly.
Cayenne pepper is additionally known for its many health benefits! Cayenne pepper is actually particularly well known for its ability to raise the metabolism, thereby making it a useful tool for increasing caloric expenditure. In plain English, that means that it can help you to lose weight!
Cayenne also has a number of other potential health benefits – which is actually true for many of the herbs and spices found on spice racks. For example, cayenne is high in vitamin C. It also helps to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It may be able to reduce platelet aggregation, and generally reduce risk of heart disease!
A Recipe Using Cayenne Pepper
The best way to get to grips with any new herb or spice is to take a go at cooking something with it. So you know what that means: grab your apron and your sauce pans and cutting board, and let’s get to work!
This time, we’re making a chilli con cane. To make it, you will first fry up some ground beef in a pan along with chopped onions, sliced mushrooms (cut up small), a little bit of grated carrot, garlic, and some sweetcorn. Cook this on a high heat, the idea being to caramelize the onions. You can also add in some bacon lardons if you want to add to the flavor yet further.
Now you’re going to add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans, and plenty of cayenne pepper. When serving, pile on top of some rice, and use a cheese grater liberally!
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