WTF Wednesday: Cayenne Pepper


This week’s WTF is inspired by the lovely Ashley from Arizona who has been helping me keep my websites bug-free!

The cayenne pepper is a hot chili pepper – related to bell peppers (capsicums) and jalepenos. It’s most readily available in powdered form, but you may also find a dried flake version. You can see that it’s bright orange – so it will add a lovely vibrant colour to your dishes, but it’s also hot hot hot!

Why should I eat it?

  • Cayenne pepper contains high levels of capsaicin, the stuff that makes it spicy. Capsaicin is known to have many theraputic benefits, including making cancer cells self-destruct. Winner.
  • Eating cayenne cleans your arteries by removing the plaque that sticks to ’em. Yes, really! Apparently you can help someone suffering a heart attack by giving them a cup of water with cayenne pepper. Wow!
  • It stimulates the digestive tract, which helps the body to metabolise food and expel toxins. It’s used in lots of detox cleanses, like the Master Cleanse, where you drink it with water, lemon juice and maple syrup.
  • Though spicy, cayenne is an anti-irritant, meaning it can help treat stomach ulcers, sore throats and upset stomachs.

Another way to use it: put the powder directly on to a bleeding wound. This I have not tried, but it’s supposed to stop the bleeding and reduce scarring. I dare say it would sting…anyone brave enough to give this a go?!

How do I use it?

  • Sprinkle the powdered version on eggs
  • I tried it on my morning avocado – it added a nice kick to the avo’s plain creaminess
  • I’ve read that cayenne sprinkled on fresh pineapple is the bomb – one of those odd food combos that just works (like olive oil and chocolate. Really.) Give it a go!
  • Add to pasta sauce, soups, casseroles etc, or rub it into meats before cooking. Anything you feel could do with a spicy kick!

Just a warning: this stuff is HOT. I went a bit overboard the first time I used it. So start with a small pinch, and work up from there. And whatever you do, DO NOT accidentally inhale it.


Where the fork do I find it?

Most supermarkets will have the dried version in jars or packets. I found this guy during my adventures at Whole Foods Market.

2014-03-04 09.17.14

I have yet to see the fresh version – or maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough. In Melbourne we mostly have the Thai long or bird’s eye chillies, which also contain lots of artery-cleaning capsaicin.

Have you tried cayenne pepper? What do you put it in? Or maybe you’ve had a pepper fail? I’d love to hear your thoughts!