Don’t use too much cayenne at one time or you’ll regret it! But nothing can replace the subtle boost that a pinch of cayenne lends to sauces, meats, marinades, and rubs. I keep cayenne pepper on hand all the time.
The fresher you can find cayenne pepper, the better. I usually buy the McCormick Gourmet version or the brand that Earth Fare carries. When you first open the container, the aroma is so powerful it makes me sneeze!
It lessens in sneeze-inducing-ability fairly quickly, so I can imagine that after awhile the flavor would significantly reduce in impact as well.
You can also find chipotle chili pepper (which has a smoky flavor but is also spicy–it’s not just smoked chili powder!), red pepper (possibly milder, depending on who makes it), and red pepper flakes.
Mexican, South American, Indian, Chinese, and Thai cuisines commonly use cayenne pepper as part of the spicy components of their food. It’s from the same types of peppers as paprika, but is consistently spicier than many of the paprikas.
Use cayenne pepper whenever you want a little bit of spicy in taco meat, burritos, stir fries, veggie dishes, or anything else that sounds good to you.
I also put a pinch into the gravy when I make creamed beef or creamed chicken. It adds a little flavor boost without making it spicy.
Soups (especially the kind where you’re throwing in frozen chicken, leftover beans and rice, and some random veggies) also do really well with a pinch of pepper. Again, it helps brighten the flavor without overpowering it or raising the temperature.
Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in these peppers, has also been found to give some joint relief to arthritis sufferers. Who knows what other herbs and spices could bring natural, inexpensive relief to common remedies?! :)
Just like the paprika peppers, you’d be able to grow cayenne peppers anyplace that gets hot enough with enough moisture. You can find growing instructions from anywhere that will sell you the plants.
You’d have to dry and grind your own, if you grew them, but it might be worth it if you’re a spicy food geek!
The more pungent and spicy and strong a spice is, the more you’ll notice its flavor diminish over time. Only buy what you can use within 6 months or a year at a time, and store it covered and away from light and heat.
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