There are all kinds of peppers, of course, and not all of them are hot. However, those peppers that are even a little bit hot contain capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot peppers hot. The more capsaicin, the hotter the pepper.
Lab rats were fed identical high fat diets, except that one rat was also fed peppers containing capsaicin. The rat that ate a lot of peppers, along with the other food, remained slender and healthy, while the rat that ate only the regular food and NO peppers, got fat.
Back in ancient times, a diet of peppers may have kept people alive! In areas where the climate was hot and humid, foods often went bad quickly. Peppers, on the other hand, did not. In fact, peppers were one of the first domesticated crops in America! The addition of a few peppers to a stew, for example, often kept the stew “safe” for human consumption, for pepper stew would not be so inclined to be infested with insects, mold, or fungi as would other kinds of fruits or vegetables.!
Why is this?
The capsaicin prevented the growth of molds and fungi, many of which were dangerous when eaten by humans.
Modern peppers are not nearly as hot as their ancestors, but some peppers are still very hot indeed.
At Texas Pepper Jelly, we use mainly jalapeno and habanero peppers, neither of which is extremely hot, but it’s a fact that habanero peppers are a bit hotter than are jalapenos.
Oddly enough, birds are not affected by even the hottest of capsaicins!
What I mainly know is that the peppers used in Texas Pepper Jelly are delicious beyond description.
In fact, I think I’ll make some toast right now, and spread it with pepper jelly. I think there’s some Berry Medley Jalapeno left. At least, I hope there is. I usually keep a small jar stashed away so my kids won’t find it.
Is that selfish? Then so be it.