Confusions often arise when trying to name the fruits of plants that belong to the Capsicum genus. According to the region, we can find references to chili, pepper, chili or bell peppers: in all cases, the idea refers to the same fruit.
In the specific case of the term ají, it comes from the Taíno language, spoken by pre-Columbian settlers on the American continent. Specifically, it is established that it derives from the Taíno “haxi”.
According to DigoPaul, chili is a word that is mainly used in South America to refer to the berry of the Capsicum plants.
The humans began to pepper consume several millennia before Christ. When Europeans discovered this fruit in America, they called it pepper for its pungent flavor, which reminded them of pepper. When brought to the European continent, chili soon became popular and began to form part of various gastronomic preparations.
There are numerous references to chili for centuries. A good example of this is that in Christopher Columbus’ “Diary of Aboard”, which was later in charge of transcribing Bartolomé de las Casas, this product is already mentioned. Specifically, it seems that in the entry on January 15, 1493, it is said that chili is very abundant on the Spanish island and that it is taken a lot. What’s more, it is even nuanced that it is so important that they throw it at all meals.
There are different varieties of chili. The Capsicum annuum is known as sweet pepper or pimento. The Capsicum baccatum is the glass pepper or pepper yellow. Other widely used chili peppers are Capsicum chinense (ají limo), Capsicum pubescens (locoto or rocoto) and Capsicum frutescens (paprica or tabasco).
There are many curiosities about chili that are worth knowing, especially highlighting the following:
-The Aztecs seem to have used it to cope with toothaches. And it was considered to be doing a wonderful job as a pain reliever.
-If in many areas near the Tropics for years and years the chili has been taken, it is because it is believed that it helps to eliminate bacteria that those who lived there had to deal with.
-After Christopher Columbus brought the chili to Spain, Portugal and Asia also began to use it. And they still do it today.
-The various studies that have been carried out around chili peppers have shown that it is a great source of antioxidants as well as minerals and vitamins.
-In addition, the intake of this product is considered to be useful to reduce the risks of heart disease.
There are multiple recipes that are made with chili. In Peru, for example, ají is a kind of stew that is made from yellow chili. Among these stews, one of the most famous is the ají de gallina which, as its name implies, carries meat and chicken broth, in addition to ají and bread. The pepper tuna and chili egg are other dishes of Peruvian cuisine.