Chili is eaten cooked or raw for its fiery hot flavor. Indian, Szechuan and Thai cuisines are particularly associated with the chili. Red chilies contain high amounts of vitamins C and carotene ("provitamin A"). Green chilies (which are essentially unripe fruit) contain a considerably lower amount of both substances. In addition, chilies are a good source of most B vitamins, and vitamin in particular. They are very high in potassium and high in magnesium and iron. Their high vitamin C content can also substantially increase the uptake of non-heme iron from other ingredients in a meal, such as beans and grains.
To select chilies for cooking, if you are searching for milder chilies, always select ones that have broad shoulders and blunt tips. For hotter chilies, select chilies with pointed tips and narrow shoulders. This is important because you can have up to 35 different piquancies on one plant at a time.
When choosing fresh Chilies - Make sure that they are firm to the touch and the skin is smooth. Once they are wrinkled, their crisp texture and fresh flavor are gone. Use them as soon after purchasing as possible. Otherwise store them for up to two weeks wrapped in a dry terry-cloth towel inside a paper bag in the refrigerator or a cool dark place. Do not freeze.
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