Tag Archives: capsaicin
I live in Virginia where our growing season runs from April to October. I’ve already enjoyed a bounty of spinach, kale, beets, onions and hot peppers. Soon my favorites will ripen, including tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green peppers and melons of all types. I am telling you this because my passion as an author is equal to my passion for food.
One vegetable I am particularly partial to is the hot pepper. I’m not into the melt-your-face type such as the ghost or Carolina Reaper which edges out The Trinidad Scorpion as the hottest pepper in the world. I’m more suited for the Cayenne which I can happily munch away on while eating lunch or supper. I will admit that I want my eyes to water, my nose to run and my forehead to sweat whilst I’m masticating these capsaicin packed capsules.
In case you’re wondering why an individual will put themselves through such a painful experience just to ingest a small explosive vegetable, allow me to tell you as I understand it. When we eat the active ingredient in a hot pepper (capsaicin), it releases endorphins. This release gives us a sense of well-being. It’s one of those cases of “hurts so good.” So my suggestion to you would be start with a pepper low in Scoville units (which is the scale used to measure the heat in a pepper) such as a Jalapeno. Take a bite and enjoy the burn!
We’re beginning to get the last vegetables of the 2015 growing season. Quite a few cherry tomatoes are still left to be had. They’re patiently waiting their turn to be plucked, lightly salted, masticated (while lovingly traversing the taste buds) and swallowed, leaving the senses wanting more.
Then, there is my favorite fruit of the vine, the majestic hot pepper. To put it mildly, I simply adore hot foods. Let me clarify. During the summer I raise hot peppers and normally eat at least one with each meal. Breakfast tends to be kind of iffy; however, it does lend itself to a good mouth scalding. Kinda gets the blood flowing first thing in the morning.
I didn’t check this year, but last summer for dinner alone I ate nearly one hundred cayenne peppers. As much as I like heat, I’m not into searing pain. I don’t eat habanero or ghost chilies raw with a meal. I do enjoy beginning my day with a couple tablespoons of hot pepper sauce. People entertain the idea that I maybe suppressing some hidden mental problems.
As I was saying, the hottest peppers I eat raw are jalapenos, cayenne and tabasco and believe me, they light a fire from my lips until they exit. This scenario I like to refer to as “hurts so good.” Eating hot peppers are not only good for you but they release endorphins which are the chemicals that float around in your brain making you feel good.
Capsaicin is the oil inside of each pepper that causes that wonderful burning sensation in your mouth. It is measured in Scoville units which when first devised by Wilbur Scoville in 1912 measured how many units of sugar water it took to relieve the pain of one unit of each particular hot pepper.
For instance, jalapenos register at 3000 to 5000 Scoville units. Cayenne peppers up to 30,000 S.U. Habaneros 300,000 or more S.U. and our friend the ghost pepper can register a head busting 1.4 million S.U.
The process of measuring the heat in peppers has become more accurate and up to date since first conceived in 1912, but in honor of Wilbur the name Scoville units was retained.
To cross capsaicin with the art of writing, I would hope that my novels would contain one of the more volatile levels found in the hottest of peppers. I write science fiction, fantasy, and
adventure. I try to keep my writing fast-paced and full of action.
Bell peppers contain no capsaicin and several others have minute amounts. I shy away from writing in this style, that way my readers and I have a better chance of saving the yawns until bedtime where they properly belong.
In a word, we all write differently and not everyone enjoys the magnificent carnage received from a fiery vegetable stick.
Keep writing and maybe, just maybe, you’ll decide to make the harmonious connection between your novels and that addictive little slice of heaven, the hot pepper.
Go ahead, try it; you’ll like it… I promise.
See ya in the funny papers and you can bet I’ll be waiting!