Chilli peppers come in all shapes, sizes and colours ranging from tiny pointed extremely hot, birds eye chillito the large mild fleshy peppers like the anaheim.
Indigenous to Central and South America and the West Indies, they have been cultivated there for thousands of years before the Spanish conquest, which eventually introduced them to the rest of the world.
Mexican cooking is one of the world’s oldest cuisines, the explorers of the New World brought back the tomatoes and peppers, red hot chillis, avocados, various beans, vanilla and chocolate, these flavours were to change the flavour of Europe.
Today there are probably 400 different chillis grown, and are one of the most widely cultivated crops today, grown from the Far East, China, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia to India to Mexico.
Some of the more commonly available fresh chillis include jalapeno, serrano, poblano, yellow wax, birds eye, habarnero and cayenne are now being stocked by many stores and markets.
When selecting chilli peppers, choose ones with bright, vivid colors and firm skin. Avoid any with wrinkled, soft or bruised areas.
Chilli peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A.
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