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Red Hot Chili Pepper Research Spices Up Historical Record
Eureka Alert ^ | 2-15-2007 | Gregory Harris - U Of Calgary

Posted on 02/16/2007 11:14:32 AM PST by blam

Contact: Gregory Harris
gharris@ucalgary.ca
403-220-3506
University of Calgary

Red hot chili pepper research spices up historical record

Archaeologists trace domestication and dispersal of Capsicum species Next time you're shaking Tabasco sauce on your eggs or dried chili pepper flakes on your pizza, you might pause to thank the indigenous Latin American cultures of more than 6,100 years ago that made it possible.

Three University of Calgary researchers, together with international colleagues, have traced the earliest known evidence for the domestication and spread of chili peppers by analysing starch microfossils recovered from grinding stones, sediments and charred ceramic cookware. In a forthcoming article in the journal Science, they report that common varieties of chili peppers (Capsicum species) were widely used in a region extending from the Bahamas to southern Peru.

"Until quite recently it's been assumed that the ancestors of the great highland civilizations, like the Inca and the Aztecs, were responsible for most of the cultural and agricultural advances of the region," says Dr. Scott Raymond, U of C archaeologist and one of the authors of the paper. "We now have evidence that the indigenous people from tropical, lowland areas deserve credit for the domestication of the chili pepper."

Dry, arid areas favour archaeological preservation, whereas tropical regions typically don't -- especially when it comes to foodstuffs. "A relatively recent discovery is that the cooking process doesn't completely destroy the evidence of starchy foods, and traces can still be recovered from the cooking vessels," says Sonia Zarrillo, another co-author of the paper and a U of C PhD student.

The authors report on seven sites throughout the Americas where they found starch grains from chili peppers, the oldest being from sites in Ecuador that date back 6,100 years. These Ecuadorian sites represent the earliest known village sites in the Americas, and were excavated by a team from the University of Calgary, led by Dr. Raymond.

In 2005, international researchers who had gathered at a University of Calgary archaeology conference began comparing notes about an unidentified starch they had recovered from sites around Latin America. Dr. Linda Perry, the lead author of the paper and a researcher with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, subsequently identified the starch as Capsicum.

"It was surprising to find that the chili pepper, which is technically a fruit, left behind evidence of starch, which is more often associated with foods such as maize and root vegetables," says Dr. Ruth Dickau, a U of C post-doctoral researcher and one of the paper's authors. "So much of the research on the origins of agriculture in the region has focused on staple crops, but now here is one of the first condiments that we're able to trace -- it's quite interesting."

Researchers speculate that villagers may have begun growing peppers for household use even farther back than 6,100 years ago, but so far can't pinpoint when domesticated chili peppers first entered the diet.

Although it is generally agreed that the genus Capsicum originated in Bolivia, the centres of domestication of the different species and their dispersal patterns remain speculative, the authors write. With the European conquest, the chili pepper spread around the world and is now associated with the cuisine of many different cultures.

Early Latin American peoples would have found chili peppers, which are rich in vitamin C, to be an excellent complement to fish and starchier foods like maize, beans, yams and corn. "It's also an excellent disguiser," Raymond notes. "If something's not tasting quite right, you can always throw a few chilis in the pot."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: chili; flea; godsgravesglyphs; peppers; redhot; spices
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I have read that all the hot peppers in the world today have their origins in the Caribbean islands.
1 posted on 02/16/2007 11:14:35 AM PST by blam
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


2 posted on 02/16/2007 11:15:04 AM PST by blam
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To: blam

3 posted on 02/16/2007 11:16:08 AM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: blam
I love those guys!


4 posted on 02/16/2007 11:16:12 AM PST by Lazamataz (Global warming turns people gay.)
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To: blam

Wow, what a great article, considering I sell hot sauce for a living!


5 posted on 02/16/2007 11:16:21 AM PST by Edgar3 (DU are the first 2 letters of DUH)
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To: blam
6,000 years ago there were no Latin Americans, and no Latin America.

In fact, there were no Latins!

6 posted on 02/16/2007 11:16:53 AM PST by muawiyah
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To: blam
You do a little dance and then you drink a little water ...
7 posted on 02/16/2007 11:17:52 AM PST by rond
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To: Edgar3
Agree, considering I sell Preparation-H.
8 posted on 02/16/2007 11:18:12 AM PST by gov_bean_ counter ( I am sitting under my cone of silence, inside a copper wire cage wearing a tin foil hat...)
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To: gov_bean_ counter

Agree, considering I sell Tidy-Bowl.


9 posted on 02/16/2007 11:20:18 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Izzy Dunne

HA, capitalism at work.


10 posted on 02/16/2007 11:21:05 AM PST by gov_bean_ counter ( I am sitting under my cone of silence, inside a copper wire cage wearing a tin foil hat...)
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To: blam; Diana in Wisconsin; Calpernia

They are chilE peppers, not chilI peppers.........


11 posted on 02/16/2007 11:21:41 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Izzy Dunne

Wow, I own a Roto-Rooter franchise... the cycle of 'life'...


12 posted on 02/16/2007 11:21:49 AM PST by mnehring (Virtus Junxit mors non Separabit)
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To: Edgar3

LOL!!!!!

I make hot pepper jelly, and this year hope to add "made-to-order" salsa to my repetoire.

I have 25 varieties waiting to start :)


13 posted on 02/16/2007 11:23:17 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Gabz
They are chilE peppers, not chilI peppers.........

Thank you! I constantly educate people to that fact
14 posted on 02/16/2007 11:23:56 AM PST by Edgar3 (DU are the first 2 letters of DUH)
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To: gov_bean_ counter
Agree, considering I sell Preparation-H.

LOL! I actually DO sell hot sauce for a living.
15 posted on 02/16/2007 11:25:07 AM PST by Edgar3 (DU are the first 2 letters of DUH)
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To: Edgar3

It's one of those little things that really bug me.

One uses chilEs to make chilE.


16 posted on 02/16/2007 11:27:29 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Gabz
I make hot pepper jelly, and this year hope to add "made-to-order" salsa to my repetoire.

Have you ever tried to market your stuff?
17 posted on 02/16/2007 11:27:43 AM PST by Edgar3 (DU are the first 2 letters of DUH)
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To: Edgar3

Tell me about your hot sauces, I'm very interested.


18 posted on 02/16/2007 11:27:58 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Edgar3
Have you ever tried to market your stuff?

At the moment I only sell it by word of mouth locally. (fingers crossed here) I plan on having a road side stand this summer.

19 posted on 02/16/2007 11:30:23 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Gabz
Tell me about your hot sauces, I'm very interested.

Thanks for asking. The reason that I can spend so much time here is because I sell over the web. My business is PyroPepper Gourmet, and we ship the stuff all over the world. Capitalism at work; I turned a hobby into a business.
20 posted on 02/16/2007 11:31:50 AM PST by Edgar3 (DU are the first 2 letters of DUH)
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To: Gabz

PM me if you are interested in sending samples. I'll be glad to test 'em for you.


21 posted on 02/16/2007 11:35:11 AM PST by Edgar3 (DU are the first 2 letters of DUH)
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To: blam

Wow, chili peppers, now I need them more than ever...


22 posted on 02/16/2007 11:35:56 AM PST by Dysart
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To: blam; FairOpinion; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...
Thanks Blam.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

23 posted on 02/16/2007 11:36:29 AM PST by SunkenCiv (I last updated my profile on Thursday, February 15, 2007. https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Edgar3

Bookmarked!!!!

Thanks for the link.

What was your original hobby that turned into selling the hot sauces?


24 posted on 02/16/2007 11:40:33 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: blam

2 Kings 4:

Death in the Pot
38 Elisha returned to Gilgal and there was a famine in that region. While the company of the prophets was meeting with him, he said to his servant, "Put on the large pot and cook some stew for these men."

39 One of them went out into the fields to gather herbs and found a wild vine. He gathered some of its gourds and filled the fold of his cloak. When he returned, he cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. 40 The stew was poured out for the men, but as they began to eat it, they cried out, "O man of God, there is death in the pot!" And they could not eat it.

41 Elisha said, "Get some flour." He put it into the pot and said, "Serve it to the people to eat." And there was nothing harmful in the pot.


25 posted on 02/16/2007 11:40:54 AM PST by Red Badger (Rachel Carson is responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler...............)
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To: blam

The Hot Chili Peppers are causing global warming. Al Gore said so, therefore, it must be true.


26 posted on 02/16/2007 11:46:31 AM PST by Blind Eye Jones
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To: mnehrling
Wow, I own a Roto-Rooter franchise... the cycle of 'life'...

I crap a lot...
27 posted on 02/16/2007 11:50:42 AM PST by cripplecreek (Peace without victory is a temporary illusion.)
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To: blam

blam,
I don't know about the Caribbean claim but I've known for maybe 30 years, based on scientific reports, that capsicum is native to the Mesoamerican lowlands. What's with this "new" research?


28 posted on 02/16/2007 11:51:10 AM PST by Bernard Marx
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To: blam
No so long ago in history pepper was worth more than gold.

I suspect that ground Chile's were also quite valuable.

As the story goes it was because of the lack of refrigeration it was the only thing that could hide the taste of half spoiled meat.
29 posted on 02/16/2007 11:51:17 AM PST by Beagle8U (Jimmy Carter changed me into a Republican.......R. W. Reagan made me DAMN proud of it!)
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To: Edgar3

Cool. I think Sontava XX by Jardine's is some of the best stuff for pintos, etc. Habanero, but buffered enough to bring out taste not pain.


30 posted on 02/16/2007 11:51:22 AM PST by manic4organic (Send a care package through USO today.)
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To: Edgar3

What kind do you sell?


31 posted on 02/16/2007 11:53:21 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: Edgar3; gov_bean_ counter; Izzy Dunne; mnehrling

OK - so we have hot sauce, hot pepper jelly, Preparation H, Tidy-Bowl and Roto-Rooter here.........have we covered everything?

I know what we're missing: Pepcid AC!!!!!


32 posted on 02/16/2007 11:53:58 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Graybeard58

Ping to freeper who sent me that great jar of habanero flakes.


33 posted on 02/16/2007 11:54:27 AM PST by Atlas Sneezed (Your FRiendly FReeper Patent Attorney)
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To: manic4organic; Edgar3

Habaneros are among my foavorite chiles........the taste is really awesome - if you can get past the burn :)


34 posted on 02/16/2007 11:56:30 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Beelzebubba; Graybeard58; patton

Oh man...........I feel really bad, I knew there was someone else (or two)that I forgot to ping to this thread.......


35 posted on 02/16/2007 11:57:30 AM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: blam
Image hosted by Photobucket.com it's Cayenne based so it's considered mild, but for me it has the best overall flavor. i guess it's cause of the sugar in it.

36 posted on 02/16/2007 11:57:42 AM PST by Chode (American Hedonist )
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To: Edgar3

"A$$ Ripper Hot sauce!"
BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!


37 posted on 02/16/2007 11:58:32 AM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: Edgar3

Is it true that the alkaloids in hot peps can ease stomach acid? I hate payin' for Prevacid!


38 posted on 02/16/2007 12:04:01 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: Edgar3

I'm one of your biggest fans...


39 posted on 02/16/2007 12:06:06 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Gabz
OK - so we have hot sauce, hot pepper jelly, Preparation H, Tidy-Bowl and Roto-Rooter here.........have we covered everything?

Beer!!

40 posted on 02/16/2007 12:08:27 PM PST by Renfield
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To: Gabz

Me too. I'm waiting for an habanero breakfast cereal...:)


41 posted on 02/16/2007 12:09:40 PM PST by Renfield
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To: Gabz
I grow, dry and grind Habaneros every summer. I can grow them in my clay hillside and not worry that deer will bother them. I make about half a pound of this flake and seed mix and use it up in pizza, chili, soup and nearly everything else. I was introduced to hot peppers in Thai food as a youngster in the 1950s. its interesting to realize these hot peppers are from the "New World," and not native Thai or Asian at all.
42 posted on 02/16/2007 12:12:39 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
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To: Lazamataz

They are red hot!


43 posted on 02/16/2007 12:16:32 PM PST by rabidralph
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To: Renfield

OMG..............I can't believe I forgot beer.......Shame on me.


44 posted on 02/16/2007 12:17:14 PM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Puppage

O-o-ok...gov_bean_ counter sells Preparation H and Izzy Dunne sells Tidy-Bowl. I suppose that picture means you sell deodorant? Why the heck is that guy sniffing his own armpits? Yuk!


45 posted on 02/16/2007 12:17:14 PM PST by ravingnutter
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To: Renfield

I'm not quite ready for an habanero cereal, in fact I probably never will be as I don't eat cereal as a rule, but I get your drift :)


46 posted on 02/16/2007 12:21:03 PM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Gabz

Is there a Grammy for this category?


47 posted on 02/16/2007 12:26:23 PM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: Gabz

My old cable had a Chinese network. They had a game show that consisted of people eating hotter and hotter foods until all but one dropped out! They had men and women actually taking the clothes off trying to cool down. The item that put everyone over the top was some sort of large Chinese cookie that was made of nothing but ground up chile peppers!


48 posted on 02/16/2007 12:27:06 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ("Don't touch that thing")
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

I've been growing one type of chile pepper or another for over 20 years. I dry some, freeze others and turn more into salsas, sauces, and jelly.

The worst experience I ever had was when I put cherry peppers next to habaneros....the cherry peppers actually came out totally unedible. The cross pollination, totally accidental, was disastrous. We just went ahead and pulled up the entire row of cherry peppers.......


49 posted on 02/16/2007 12:35:42 PM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

That sound PAINFUL!!!!!!!!!!


50 posted on 02/16/2007 12:36:44 PM PST by Gabz (I like mine with lettuce and tomato, heinz57 and french-fried potatoes)
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