Dried chili peppers add heat to dishes in various ways. The source of a chili’s heat is the capsaicin in its seeds and membrane.

Breaking open or biting into a chili can result in a painful experience, so they’re sometimes used whole (usually in larger quantities). If a more intense heat is desired, they can be broken open/chopped (much fewer chilies are needed in this case).

There are a vast number of chili pepper cultivars that have been produced through selective breeding to augment their most desirable traits. According to some sources, as many as 2,000 different chili pepper cultivars are grown in China today.

Farmers of chili peppers in China take great pride in their heirloom chili seeds, which are carefully selected from the highest quality plants each year depending on certain characteristics, including color, flavor, and size.


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