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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> science

Tour the Ultimate Chilehead Garden

Posted by: Lois Manno

Tagged in: science , gardening , chile peppers

 

Whether pepper gardening is your passion, or you’re just getting started with that first pot of plants, from now through October you can visit the gardens at New Mexico State University’s Fabian Garcia Science Center in Las Cruces. There you’ll see peppers being grown the way the pros do it, and possibly pick up some growing tips to take home! Read more about it on the Burn! Blog here.


A red jalapeño podQ: I heard about some guy who has developed a jalapeño pepper with no heat. Why would anybody do that?

A: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Some manufacturers of hot products prefer to use heatless chile varieties and add heat later during processing through the addition of concentrated capsaicin oleoresin. This provides a measurable, more consistent heat level throughout the product run.

Read more on the Burn! Blog here.

 

 


 

Naga Viper, Courtesy of Gerald FowlerWhenever someone tries to lay claim to the biggest, best, or most intense record for pretty much anything, they run the risk of being challenged.

When the subject is the world's hottest pepper, the stakes are high, both monetarily and in terms of publicity. If you've ever dealt with chileheads, they can be every bit as fanatical and obsessed about their chosen passion as the worst lovesick stalker.

That being said, it's not surprising that a storm of controversy currently surrounds several chile growers who are vying for the "world's hottest chile pepper" title. Read this article on Popsci for more about the conflagration, what happens when you ask a beer company to rule about peppers, and an answer to the question, "can eating them kill you?"


Chile Podcasts LogoSunbelt Shows, Inc., owner of the Fiery Foods & Barbecue SuperSite, has announced the launch of Dave DeWitt's Chile Podcasts, a weekly audio show that features interviews with the top leaders and characters in the fiery foods and barbecue industries.  The theme of the first series of three podcasts is "SuperHot" and features interviews with James Beck of EatMoreHeat.com, famous for his tortured consumption of the Apocalypse Burger and others; Dave Hirschkop of Dave's Gourmet, manufacturer of Dave's Insanity Sauce; and chemical engineer Marlin Bensinger, the world's foremost expert on capsaicin. The first three interviews have been recorded and are in post-production.

"These first Chile Podcasts give everyone a chance to listen to people they've only read about," said DeWitt, "and get an insider's view of what's going on behind the scenes in the world of superhot peppers and products."  Producing the Chile Podcasts is David Wolf of America Markets Media in Albuquerque, who said that the first one will be posted "very soon."  Illustrated transcripts of all the podcasts will also be posted.


Chile StethescopeThe much sought after cure for cancer could be heating up. Recent findings from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that capsaicin, the active chemical compound that gives chile peppers their heat, may reduce and even block chronic inflammation pathways in cancer cells.

In an article posted on MD Anderson’s blog, professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., points out that, "Symptoms common in cancer patients, such as depression, fatigue, neuropathic pain, metastases and tumor growth, are due to inflammation. By using capsaicin, we can inhibit these things."

While capsaicin has long been linked to boosting metabolism, lowering the risk of ulcers, and reducing muscle pain and inflammation, scientists say its cancer-curing potential has yet to be fully tapped. One problem holding scientists back?

"Chiles are a double-edged sword -- a little bit is good, but too much is bad," Aggarwal says. "Many people's stomachs can't handle red chile."

In a recent Phase III placebo-controlled trial at the Geisinger Clinical Oncology Program in Danville, Pa., many patients experienced discomfort with a topical capsaicin ointment. And while patients in the trial preferred the capsaicin to the placebo as a pain-reliever, the extreme heat of most pepper varieties may prove too hot to handle – for now, at least.

Read the full article from the MD Anderson Cancer Center here.


Maya Natural Sea Salt Harvest

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

Tagged in: tasty travel , science , manufacturing , history

 

Maya Natural Sea Salt HarvestRick Grice of Maya Natural Sea Salt just sent me a link to pics of his salt harvest, which apparently has been going on long before he was born!  Rick writes: "White Gold or Mayan Sea Salt has been the subject of numerous books and scholarly papers written about the trade routes of the ancient Mayans.  Some have estimated that 3 to 6 tons of sea salt per day had to be transported by canoe and on human backs into the interior to supply the Mayan people whose population then is estimated to have been greater than the population of the same region today. This sea salt was produced on both sides of Central America in what is now Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, and even into Honduras and El Salvador. Recently discovered archeology sites (many now underwater) attest to the vastness of this ancient enterprise. Our FDA-registered operation is within walking distance of one of the Mayan sites."
View the rest of his harvest shots here. Mouse-over the pics to see the captions.


Garrity Scorpion Press Release

Above is the press release about our ongoing attempt at the Guinness World Record for what they call "Hottest Chili."  We missed it by that much, but never fear, we'll be back!  Read the entire story here.

 


 

Naga ViperWe wanted to make sure that everyone understands the position of University of Warwick regarding testing of the Naga Viper.  Peter Dunn, head of communications, just sent us this statement:

The University of Warwick School of Life Sciences has been asked by a number of growers to test Chillies to ascertain their heat level on the Scoville Scale. Each of those tests has been done as a commercial service to those clients and the University has not publicized or press released any of the results.

One of those clients recently asked us to test a Chilli they described as a "Naga Viper".  We completed the test and gave the results to the client. We have since seen a number of media publish those results under headlines that this indicates that the tested Chilli is the hottest in the world.

We also understand from news reports that there has been some interest in having this published as a fact in the Guinness Book of Records.

While we cannot release our full report on this Chilli without the commercial client's express permission, we can say that we feel that any result obtained from the Chilli sample that was tested by us should be viewed as only a good indicator that this Chilli could meet the conditions of entry into the Guinness Book of Records. The sample provided to us was relatively small and, while we do not know explicitly what the Guinness Book of Records testing requirements would be, we would expect that they would require at least one more test with a larger sample and possibly a corroborating test in another lab.


Burglar Blaster
The Burglar Blaster security system

Ever wish you had a more appropriate way than an ADT Home Security system to safeguard your hot sauce collection? Imagine if a burglar snuck into your house, tripped the alarm system, and was sprayed with a fiery blast of pepper spray? Now that’s poetic justice. The Burglar Blaster is a “self contained electronic pepper spray anti-burglary system” that’s easy to install. The unit is housed in a cast aluminum/alloy case and lasts up to four years on a set of batteries. That means that even if the power goes out on your block, your hot sauce collection—along with everything else in your house—is protected. Pretty cool, right?

Just be careful that you don’t trip the Burglar Blaster yourself because the infrared alarm only takes 40 seconds to blast anyone and anything within a 2,000-foot radius with a strong dose of Oleoresin Capsicum, a chemical compound that causes nausea and irritates the eyes to cause tears, pain, and even temporary blindness. Not to mention, you’ll have to clean house pretty well if the Burglar Blaster does go off, as aerosol capsaicin won’t just disperse into thin air.

Using pepper spray to defend your shrine to all things spicy? That’s hot. Blasting yourself and your treasured belongings with a fine mist of capsaicin? That’s not.


The Pepper EaterSometimes it’s easy to forget that producing fiery foods is more than just a passion – in many parts of the world, chile production and processing is a necessity. Dried red pepper is the one of the most widely consumed spices in the world, eaten daily by one-quarter of the world’s population. Chile peppers are one of the oldest domesticated crops. Civilizations in South America grew chile peppers for food and medicinal purposes, and after peppers were introduced to other parts of the globe more than 500 years ago, chiles became important in developing nations for their economic value. Ethiopia alone consumes 466 million kilograms of pepper annually, with an estimated 400,000 women in Ethiopia processing peppers for income.Women Processing Peppers

Inspired by stories of Ethiopian women bringing in income by processing peppers by hand, a team from the Hassno Plattner Design Institute at Stanford University developed the Pepper Eater—an affordable hand-cranked pepper grinder. Pepper processing is exhausting work that turns fresh peppers into higher-value products: dried flakes, seeds, and powder. The procedure can cause severe irritation in the skin, eyes, and noses from exposure to pepper oil containing capsaicin, pepper dust in the air can cause respiratory issues. The Pepper Eater produces dried pepper flakes about 2-4 times faster than current manual methods while greatly reducing the health risks associated with processing chiles.

The design team included Samuel Hamner, Megan Kerins, Siobhan Nolan, and Scott Sadlon, a group of Stanford Engineering and Business grad students. After successfully conducting an on-the-ground feasibility study in September 2009, Sam and Scott are continuing as an independent design and strategy team with the goal of implementing the Pepper Eater in Ethiopia and other developing markets. Most recently, they have partnered with Compatible Technology International and have been featured in National Geographic Magazine to help them achieve their goal and gain exposure for the project.

Interested in learning more about the project, or donating? Visit: www.thepeppereater.org.

Sources & images for this article provided by:

www.thepeppereater.org

http://socialelab.org/?page_id=103


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