Americans’ obsession with spicy foods shows no signs of abating. Layering in flavors and applying peppery seasonings keeps meat and poultry relevant to today’s adventurous consumer. And while heat is an important component of peppered foods, so is the flavor. That’s why a growing number of suppliers offer reduced-heat or heatless chili pepper flavors. This allows formulators to craft the desired flavor profile and then add in the targeted layer of heat. Mixing and blending pepper flavors allows for the creation of a signature flavor.
The heat can be added later in the form capsaicin. This is the odorless, tasteless, crystalline chemical compound found in chili peppers and responsible for the sensation of a mouth being on fire. The concentration of capsaicin in chili peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU), with pure capsaicin measured at 16,000,000 SHU.
Trending peppers and their flavor profiles:
Aleppo: salty, zesty with citrus notes
Aji Amarillo: sweet, with an acidic undertone and notes of dried fruit, citrus, green grass and tomato
Aji Panca: woody, dried fruit with a hint of cocoa
Ancho: rich, dark cherry with raisin sweetness and smoky tobacco and chocolate undertones
Cascabel: woody, smoky with slight molasses and tobacco notes
Cayenne: acidic, pungent
Chipotle: woody, smoky with hints of cocoa
Guajillo: sweet, tangy with earthy notes and a touch of citrus
Habanero: fruity, floral with hints of citrus
Hatch Green Chili: crisp, smoky with some onion
Paprika: sweet and smoky
Pasilla: prune-like with a hint of licorice
Serrano: grassy with some citrus notes