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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about...Chile Peppers.


CURWOOD: The San Diego Natural History Museum will soon host one of the year's hottest events. August 12 is the date of the first annual Celebration of Chiles. That's chiles as in chile peppers, spelled c-h-i-l-e like the country, as opposed to c-h-i-l-i like the stew. And one things that attendees might learn is that growing chiles in hot, dry weather, with minimal fertilizer, will yield the highest levels of capsaicin. That's the alkaloid that makes peppers taste so hot. The more yellow coloring found in the band around the chile's inner wall, the hotter the pepper. Chiles are green if harvested in August, and turn red when they ripen in September. Either way they're an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium, calcium, and heartburn. With chiles' popularity on the rise, chile specialty stores are popping up across the country. They stock a plethora of sauces, with colorfully wicked names like "Smokin' Tonsils," "Crying Tongue," and "Hellish Relish." Or my favorite, "Fire Mud." And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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