Whether amateur cook or amateur gardener: chilli has long since found its way into our domestic kitchens and gardens. The spice impresses with its versatility in the forms in which it is presented and its degree of heat and has long since ceased to be found only in South or Central American dishes.
Whether mild, with a slight spiciness or with a fiery note: in our product comparison, we introduce you to different types of chilli and show you our recommendations, which should make it easier for you to choose the perfect spice.
The most important facts
- Chilli belongs to the genus of berry fruits and is used in many cuisines as a spice. In addition, chilli is said to have a healing effect.
- Chillies are nightshade plants and there are numerous varieties. They vary in colour, size, taste and degree of heat.
- The heat of a chilli can be expressed in Scoville units. Chillies contain capsaicin, which triggers the sensation of heat in the mucous membranes.
The Best Chilli: Our Picks
There are chillies on the market for every taste and need. Here we have compiled our favourites, each with a note from the editors.
Buying and evaluation criteria for chillies
To give you an insight into the topic of chilli, we have summarised the most important criteria below. This will give you an optimal overview of the selection based on the criteria below:
We will also explain what the individual points mean, so that you can make a well-informed purchase decision.
Chilli, i.e. the chilli plant, originally comes from Central and South America. There, chilli has been an integral part of traditional cuisine for thousands of years. Christopher Columbus brought the plant to Europe by sea in the 15th century.
The pungent spice quickly found favour in European circles, too, and people appreciated it not only for its pungency, but also as a vegetable and remedy. Today, chilli is mainly cultivated in India, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand and China. Incidentally, chillies have been bred mild over time, resulting in the pepper species alopinos.
The chilli plant is a solanaceous plant and varies in its external characteristics such as colour and size. There are also differences in taste and degree of hotness. In addition, chillies are berry fruits and are therefore a fruit and not a vegetable.
The variety of chillies comprises about 4000 different species, including wild varieties. Most of them differ in their spiciness. Chillies also differ in origin or cultivation, such as organic farming. The best known are jalapeno chillies, cayenne chillies and the particularly hot habanero chilli.
Form of presentation
The fruits of the chilli plants are often dried after harvesting. They are then either packaged as whole pods, crushed into flakes or ground into powder. Of course, you can also buy fresh chillies and use them in cooking.
It is up to you to decide which form you prefer and which works best for you. Powder is usually the easiest to dose and combines optimally with your dish. If you buy whole chillies, you can simply grind them with a chilli grinder.
Even the size of the pod determines the heat. The smaller the chilli, the hotter it is. The heat is in the skin and seeds of the pod. So if you use a fresh chilli and prefer it less hot, use only the flesh.
To make heat measurable, the pharmacologist Wilbur L. Scoville developed the Scovill scale in 1912. Chilli contains capsaicin, which irritates and triggers the sensation of spiciness in our mucous membranes. The scale ranges from 0 with no spiciness to 16,000,000 Scoville units, which would then be pure capsaicin.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about chilli answered in detail
In this section we explain the most frequently asked questions about chilli so that you are well informed when you want to buy chilli.
Who is chilli suitable for?
If you don’t tolerate spiciness, you should of course avoid chilli or opt for mild varieties. If your food is too spicy, a glass of milk will help to tone it down.
How much does chilli cost?
|Price range||Available products|
|Low-priced (2 – 5€)||Small packaging, often as a whole pod|
|Medium-priced (6 – 10€)||Medium-sized packaging, often flakes or powder|
|High-priced (11 – 20€)||Large packaging, organic quality|
If you want to get a taste for chilli, start with a small package size. Make sure you don’t buy whole pods, because then you’ll have to chop them yourself. If you want to spend a little more, we recommend organic products.
The spice chilli has long since arrived in Europe. Not for nothing was an entire dish named after it: chilli con carne. In the meantime, there are also many vegetarian recipe ideas. In addition, chilli is healthy, good for your immune system and contains a lot of vitamin C.
You can buy it as a whole pod, as flakes, in powder form or as a plant. Of course, you can also grow your own chilli plants in your garden or on the balcony. But you can also buy chilli as a ready-made sauce, dip or liqueur.
(Cover photo: Free-Photos / Pixabay)