Chilli is native to Latin America, particularly Mexico. Then came the age of exploration, and many cultivars of chilli spread across the globe. Now, chilli is a popular cooking ingredient to add a strong, pungent flavor to whole foods and cuisines.
An overview of its profile will clearly explain the reason for its popularity:
Hydroponics of Chilli
Chilli is one such plant that can be grown all year round provided that the hydroponic setup meets the following criteria:
The choice of the hydroponic system comes down to unit cultivation. For single plant cultivation, a static solution hydroponic system provides good results at a low budget. For larger setups, however, continuous flow and nutrient film technique hydroponic systems are better alternatives.
Seeds of chilli best germinate in the temperature range of 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. But shortly after the germination, the temperature requirement drops down to 73°F to 79°F.
Nutrient solution with a pH range of 5.5-6.5 favors the chilli’s growth. Moreover, spraying 19:19:19 NPK fertilizer over a period of several months increases the yield and length of the chilli fruit.
Nutritional Profile of Chilli
The powdered form of chilli, commonly used as a spice, has the following nutrients:
Something as spicy as chilli is bound to have low levels of carbohydrates, and that’s precisely the case in its nutritional profile. (FoodData Central, 2019)
It’s a rich source of common minerals like sodium, potassium, and calcium. It also has a fair share of zinc and selenium.
The vitamin profile mainly consists of two vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E.
Health Benefits of Chilli
Chilli and its active chemical constituents maintain the functionality of the gut system. From curing numerous GIT disorders to influencing gastric emptying and absorption, chilli ticks all the right boxes. It alleviates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms, mitigates the effects of ulcers and cancers, and regulates the GIT secretions. (Maji & Banerji, 2016)
Chemistry of Chilli
Chilli owes its hotness and spiciness to the presence of compounds called capsaicinoids. The two main capsaicinoids found in chilli are capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin. These compounds have a special stimulatory effect on our taste buds. (Nurjanah, Sudaryanto, & Widyasanti, 2016)
Capsaicinoids trigger pain-sensitive and heat-sensitive neurons present in the tongue, causing a burning sensation. And that sensation is the characteristic spice flavor of chilli.
Chilli has many varieties, and one way to sort them into particular groups is by using the Scoville Scale or hot pepper scale. Regardless of their diversity, all of them have the common ability to stimulate the pain nerve endings. And that sums up the science behind their taste.
FoodData Central. (2019, April). Retrieved from U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171319/nutrients
Maji , A., & Banerji, P. (2016, January 12). Phytochemistry and gastrointestinal benefits of the medicinal spice, Capsicum annuum L. (Chilli): a review. Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine. doi:https://doi.org/10.1515/jcim-2015-0037
Nurjanah, S., Sudaryanto, Z., & Widyasanti, A. (2016, October). Antibacterial activity of Capsicum annuum L. oleoresin. Acta Horticulturae. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1125.23