Chili is used to enhance the flavors of food and is in use for ages. Almost every cuisine uses chili to give it a spicy flavor. Many people like their food to be a little spicy while others want it to be extra spicy. Different variations of the flavor are done with spices. But where did chili originate in the beginning? Although over the years, chili has become a worldwide ingredient, many people are still unaware of where is chili from.
1. Where is Chili from?
Chilies are among the oldest domesticated crops and one of the first cultivated crops in Southern and Central America. The word chili is derived from Nahuatl, an Aztec language. Where did chili originate? Experts have agreed that the ancestors of chili originated in an area of present-day Bolivia, South America. Check out how many islands in the Philippines are known?
From the archeological studies, it was established that chili was largely found and used in Mesoamerica (a region that extends from Central Mexico to Central America and northern Costa Rica). Capsicum annum, the ancestor of all chili pepper, was grown during the pre-Hispanic times in Texas, Mexico, and parts of the arid Southwest. (See Cunningham Name Origin)
2. What are the Early Records of Chili?
Since 7500 BC, chili has been a part of the human diet in America. In Andes (modern-day Ecuador), chilies grew naturally towards the eastern side of the mountain range. Traces of chili were also found in pottery and vessels belonging to 400 BCE from South America. Must read what is the history of waffles?
Moreover, chilies have become a part of the food in Panama for over 5600 years ago. Additionally, 1000 years old remains of the chili were discovered from sites in the Bahamas as well. In Venezuela, remains have been found from 500 to 1000 years ago. So these are answers to where did chili originate. (Also read What is the Most Expensive Truffle?))
3. What is the Journey of Chilis around the World?
Till 1492, chilies were available to the American continent only. But when Christopher Columbus reached the Caribbean on his first voyage, he came across these red chilies. He named it chili peppers because they have the same taste as peppers. A physician who joined Columbus on his second voyage to the West Indies in 1493 brought chilies to Spain. And from there, Spanish merchants are responsible for spreading the chili throughout the parts of Asia. (See Why Do Potatoes Sprout?)
The Portuguese also made the biggest contribution and spread the market of chilis as they added to the spice trade in Asia. Apart from where did chili originate, it traveled from one region to another and dominated the entire world, and took domestication in various places. Read the article what are the names of coldest places on Earth?
4. What are the Uses of Chili?
The different general and medicinal uses of chilis are given below.
- Firstly, chilis are used to enhance the flavors of a meal. Must read the article why do we eat ham on Easter?
- In Aztec and Mayan traditions from 5000-6000 BCE, chili was not just for flavoring the food but also for curing illness.
- They are helpful in absorbing iron, and thus good for the heart.
- Moreover, they help in burning calories and aid indigestion. (See What Everybody Ought to Know About Medicinal Uses of General Spices)
5. Which Country produces and consumes the most Chilies?
China is the largest producer as well as the largest consumer of chilies. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the country produces approximately 20.43 million tons of fresh and dried chilies. However, Mexico is the largest exporter of chilies. (Also read What do People Eat in China?)
So, finally, you know from where did chili originate. However, in the modern-days, the Andes is the place where is chili from. (See What Everybody Ought To Know About Seasoning Uses Of These 53 Different Spices)