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Hot! Hot! Hot!: For the Love Of Chili Peppers

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

I love hot sauce. I love to make it. I love to learn about how others make it. I love to share it. This is a continuation of my chili head blogs. I am working on a new batch of hots sauce that I mention in another post here. It uses African Birdseye Chili peppers. They are small and very, very hot.


They are also called Peri Peri peppers. Pilipili in Swahili means "pepper". Other romanizations include pili pili in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and peri peri in Malawi, deriving from various pronunciations of the word in different parts of Bantu-speaking Africa. This is where Nando's the famous South African chicken food chain gets the name for their sauce.


All chilis found around the world today have their origins in Mexico, Central America, and South America.[3] They were spread by Spanish and Portuguese colonists, missionaries, and traders, together with many other now common crops such as maize, tomatoes and pineapples through the Columbian Exchange. The chili varieties found in Southeast Asia today were brought there in the 16th or 17th century.[4][5] - Wikipedia


The tiny Bird’s Eye Chili originated in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, The Philippines, and surrounding countries, but they can now be found all over the world. They are presumably called Bird’s Eye Chili because of their small round shape and because they have been spread by birds, which are not affected by the heat of the peppers. - www.chilipeppermadness.com


There are two schools of thought on how this pepper got its name. One idea is it was named for one of the prominent ways its seeds spread: through birds. Some sources state that the name birds eye comes from these chili bushes being started by birds picking and dropping the chilis. Birds don’t feel any effects from chilli oil therefore they don’t get the burning sensation humans do. Although you might think that birds would be sensitive to the heat of these chilies, that’s actually not the case. Birds can’t detect the heat from capsaicin the way people can. The other theory for how bird’s eye peppers got their name is that the stem of these peppers resembles a bird’s eye.- www.growingchillis.net


I like the bird spreading theory as it makes sense from a practical stand point. Birds eat them. Fly away. Leave them and then they grow. The bird eye shape is a bit more subjective. Regardless. I am going to make a batch of hot sauce now.


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