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”.
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.