What is Capsaicin?
Capsaicin is the major heat-producing component in hot red peppers. These peppers come from plants belonging to the genus Capsicum, which include sweet bell peppers (red, yellow and green), and hot chili peppers (ancho, banana, habanero, jalepeno, etc). Obviously hot peppers contain more capsaicin than sweet bell peppers, and in fact, sweet bell peppers don’t contain any capsaicin at all due to a recessive gene that eliminates its production.
The amount of capsaicin, or spicy heat, delivered in a pepper is rated within a unit of measure called the Scoville scale. The number of Scoville Heat Units (SHU) in this scale tells you how much capsaicin is present. Below is a chart showing you Scoville ratings of different peppers with pure capsaicin (also spelled capsaician) having the highest ranking and bell peppers having the least.
Capsaicin is found within the fleshy parts of peppers that hold the seeds, mainly the pepper membranes. In fact, the seeds themselves do not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white pith around the seeds.
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