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Is Cayenne chili or pepper?

Question: Is the well-known spice Cayenne pepper made from chillies or pepper?... more

Is Cayenne chili or pepper?

Question: Is the well-known spice Cayenne pepper made from chillies or pepper?

Answer: The name Cayenne pepper comes from the common English language term "chili pepper". The word pepper is derived from the Latin word "piper". But how did chillies come to be associated with pepper?

When Christopher Columbus was looking for a shorter route to India in 1492, the main purpose of his journey was in the economic interest of Spain - the trading of spices. Black peppercorns in particular were a valuable and expensive commodity in Europe. In addition to potatoes, Columbus also brought the chili back with him to Spain. Hence the common name "Spanish pepper". The small chili berries, commonly used by the also falsely named "Indians", were a valuable prize for Columbus. He presumed they were a type of pepper, and not the nightshade plant "Capsicum". This misinterpretation is the reason why terms such as Cayenne pepper and not the correct Cayenne chili powder are still used today.






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