Red hot chili pepper have been used for centuries to add flavor to foods around the world. They’re a group of cultivars within the Solanaceae family that are grown for their fruit, which are eaten fresh, cooked, or preserved. They’re also called chiles and chilies. The fruit is botanically a berry and the seeds inside the fruit are known as pips. It was cultivated early on in Mesoamerica where food was limited to plantains, beans and amaranth but today there are over 30 different species around the world, including chili pepper from Nigeria.
The term “chili” comes from Nahuatl language and means “fragrant”. The capsaicin in chili peppers is what gives them their heat and their unique flavor.
They are grown on every continent except Antarctica. In the United States, they are grown in California, Texas, and New Mexico. In Mexico they are grown in Jalisco and Michoacan. In India they are cultivated in Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal–the world’s largest chili pepper producing region; Rajasthan–the second largest producer; Tamil Nadu–the third largest producer; Andhra Pradesh; Kerala and Karnataka. In Nigeria, they are grown in the northern areas of the country, in Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Plateau and Bauchi states.