Chilli fruit structure
Understanding the structure of a chilli helps in deciding how to prepare chillies for various culinary uses.
The image below is of a typical Jalapeño chilli split lengthways to demonstrate the internal structure of the fruit. Technically the fruit is a berry, and all chillies follow the same basic design.
From the culinary point of view, a chilli has four distinct elements:
- The green stalk which is inedible. In deciduous chillies the fruit falls from the stalk naturally when ripe, but in most cases the stalk is cut off and discarded.
- The tan coloured seeds which have neither heat nor flavour. They can be removed or not, as you please. The hard black seeds of Capsicum pubescens are always removed as they would detract from any dish prepared with them.
- The pale spongy core and rib. These are the placental tissue to which the seeds are attached. They have no flavour, but carry blisters of capsaicin on the surface. This is where all of the heat of the chilli is found. Removing the core and ribs from a chilli will drastically reduce its pungency, although some of the blisters will burst during the process coating the flesh of the chilli with capsaicin.
- The brightly coloured flesh which is full of flavour but has no pungency (except in the case of superhot chillies).