What is Cayenne Pepper?

Capsicum annum L.

Scoville Scale: 30,000-50,000,

Common Names:  Guinea spice, cow horn peppers, or red hot chilli pepper.

Among the hottest chillies, cayenne peppers are long, thin, sharply pointed red fruits that are either straight or curled at the tip. They grow to a length of 6-10 inches and are named after the City of Cayenne in French Guiana.

Cayenne is closely related to Chile de arbo  which  is  similar in shape, but grows only 2-3 inches in length and usually does not have a curled tip. It’s also slightly less pungent.

Photo Courtesy of : André Karwath aka Aka [CC BY-SA 2.5)]

Use of Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is used in cooking sauces, curries, soups, stews, in marinades, or as a condiment to add flavour.

The pepper can be used fresh (green) or fresh (red) or dried. The dried pepper can be used whole or ground into cayenne powder or crushed into  red pepper flakes.

Fresh Cayenne Pepper

The fresh pepper is usually finely chopped and added together with onions, during cooking or the seeds are removed and the whole pepper is sliced in half lengthwise and added to soups and stews, to infuse its flavour.

Whole Dried Cayenne Pepper

Whole dried red cayenne pepper is especially popular in Indian cooking where it’s used in tempering of dal and other indian dishes.

Dried Whole Red Pepper myfavouritepastime.com

Cayenne Powder 

Cayenne Powder has a deep red colour and is a very popular spice used in cooking dishes like tandoor chicken where it adds flavour and imparts its deep red colour.

Cayenne powder is also also added as an ingredient in  spice blends or spice rubs or used to as an ingredient in several of the hot pepper sauces in the market.

Cayenne Powder myfavouritepastime.com

Cayenne Pepper Flakes 

The red pepper flakes are commonly used as a seasoning in cooking or as an ingredient in spice rubs or spice mixes. They are also popularly be used in pepper shakers (pepper pots), in restaurants, especially American pizza parlours and Italian Stye Restaurants. In the food manufacturing industry, they’re used in sausages, pickling, sauces and ready to eat foods or frozen pizzas.

Crushed Red Chilli Pepper myfavouritepastime.com

Nutrition of Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne  makes negligible contribution to the overall dietary intake because it’s used in very small quantities. However it’s high in Vitamin A, and also contains B6, E, C, riboflavin, Potassium and Manganese.

What is the Scoville Scale?

The amount of heat in hot pepper is measured by the Scoville scale, which measures the pungency (spicy heat) of chilli peppers, recorded in Scoville heat units. The units range from 0 (Bell pepper); 100-900 (Paprika, Pimento); 3,500-10,000 (Chipotle, Jalapeño); 30,000-50,000 (Cayenne, Tabasco), 100,000-350,000 (Habanero, Scotch bonnet) to 2,000,200 (Carolina Reaper).


Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

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