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Chilli is also known as chilli peppers. The substances that give chilli their intensity when ingested or applied topically are capsaicin and several related chemicals, collectively called capsaicinoids.
In Season: Throughout the year.
Health Benefits: Chilli contains up to seven times the vitamin C level of an orange and can help fight sinus congestion, aid digestion and relieve migraines and muscle, joint and nerve pain. It is also a good source of vitamins A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium. Chilli is considered a potential metabolism booster for weight loss.
How to Prepare: The membrane around the chilli seeds gives them most of their heat. You can scrape out the middle of the chilli with a teaspoon to control the heat. Make sure you wash your hands well after touching them and be sure not to put your fingers near your eyes as chillies can irritate the eyes and skin.
What to Look For: Fresh chillies should have a firm, smooth, glossy skin with green stems. There should be no blemishes - no brown marks, shrivelled skin, bruises, slashes, black spots or soft, sunken areas. Avoid limp or dry chillies (unless of course you are buying them as properly dried chillies!). They should be bright but deep in colour - if dull it could mean the fruit is over-matured.
How to Store: Fresh unwashed chillies may be stored for up to three weeks, either wrapped in paper towels or kept in a ventilated plastic bag in the fridge. If the bag is not ventilated, any trapped moisture will cause the chillies to go off more quickly.
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