Cayenne pepper is a tantalizing herb derived from a dried red pepper which originated in Central and South America. Christopher Columbus discovered cayenne during his travels in the Caribbean and later introduced the pepper to Europe for its use as a substitute to expensive black pepper. Today the peppers are grown in all countries of the world. Commercial exportation reigns in the countries of China, Mexico, Nigeria, Spain and Turkey.
Crushed, cayenne pepper is used to accompany any dishes made with sauce such as pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, buffalo wings and a dash added to soups or stews will enhance overall flavor.
Drying the pepper is a moderately simple process and extends shelf life for many years. To dry a pepper, make certain to choose only those that are healthy, blemish-free, having no soft spots. Wash and dry the peppers making certain to remove all water. My preferred method for drying the pepper is either in natural sun or strung and hung in a dry, cool, dark location. If you choose to string and hang the peppers, make certain to check in about four weeks, making certain they are hard enough to crush. Crushing retains the flavor of the cayenne. When drying them outdoors in the sun, lay them on a baking dish, flip once during the two week process to make certain they are dried and ready to use.
Cayenne pepper can either be dried as shown above, ground, bottled or purchased in bulk. No matter which type of cayenne you prefer, store it in a dark, cool area. Never freeze cayenne pepper, as freezing will ruin the pepper. The cayenne pepper is also sold fresh, in pill form, in oils, creams, capsules and tincture.
Cayenne pepper holds spicy properties that are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin B; including niacin, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-1 and Vitamin C, iron and potassium.
For medicinal purposes, cayenne pepper is an aid to many health conditions, especially because of its component of the pain reliever, capsaicin. The health conditions include: Rheumatism and arthritis, congestion, stomach aches, lowers blood pressure halting heart problems, headache reliever, slows prostate cancer cells according to a published study, weight loss, abscessed teeth, acne, anemia, boils, athlete’s foot, age spots, colic, fatigue, gallstones, rib pain, itchy skin, rosacea, tics, ulcers, warts, tick bites and weak vision.