Where's the heat in chilies

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One of the most often repeated culinary misconceptions is that the seeds in chile pepper are either the principal or a significant source of heat.

According to Dave DeWitt, author of The Whole Chile Pepper Book, "The heat source of chile peppers, capsaicin, is produced by glands at the junction of the placenta and the pod wall. The capsaicin spreads unevenly throughout the inside of the pod and is concentrated mostly in the placental tissue. The seeds are not sources of heat, as commonly believed. However, because of their proximity to the placenta, the seeds do occasionally absorb capsaicin through the processing procedure. For every hundred parts of capsaicin in the placental tissue, there are six parts in the rest of the fruit tissue, and four parts in the seeds." The scientific conclusion that the seeds contain the least amount of piquancy can be informally confirmed by carefully removing some seeds, rinsing them, and then chewing them. There are certainly good reasons to remove the seeds from chiles, including their unpleasant texture and sometimes bitter taste, but controlling the heat doesn't seem to be one of them.

from an article by James W. Peyton San Antonio, TX

Fine Cooking

Dec 95-Jan 96

Submitted By DIANE LAZARUS On 12-20-95

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