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Cayenne Peppers

The Cayenne Chile Pepper bush grows about 3 feet tall (almost 1 metre) and 2 feet wide (60 cm.) One bush can produce about 40 Cayenne Peppers, which are (often) wrinkled, skinny long peppers that grow anywhere from 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 cm) long depending on the variety. The peppers can be dark green, orange, red or yellow.

They can sometimes be purchased whole, but are used dried and sold as red pepper flakes, or ground into Cayenne Pepper or used for commercial sauces.

Varieties include Charleston Hot (quite hot), Hot Portugal, (8 inches / 20 cm long, medium heat), Large Red Thick, (6 inches / 15 cm long, very hot, wrinkled), Long Red Slim (6 inches / 15 cm long, hot), Ring of Fire (4 inches / 10 cm long, hot, don't even ask where the name comes from), and Super Cayenne (4 inch / 10 cm pods.)

Major producers and exporters are Africa, Japan, India, Louisiana, Mexico, and New Mexico

Chile heat range: Between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville units.


One pepper = 1/8 teaspoon ground

Storage Hints

Cayenne Pepper starts to weaken in a year; the flakes are good for two years.

History Notes

Cayenne Peppers originated in South America, probably in the French Guyana area. They were brought to Europe by the Portuguese. They were known in England by 1652, when Culpepper's herbal discussed them as a tooth remedy. They were being grown in England at least by 1771, as they were listed in a garden dictionary of the time.

Literature & Lore

In the area of French Guyana there is a river that the natives called "kian", which got Westernized into Cayenne, which also became the name of the capital of French Guyana, which is still an overseas territory of France. The Chile was probably named after the river or the city.

Chile Peppers

Anaheim Chile Peppers; Ancho Chile Peppers; Birds Eye Chile Peppers; Cascabel Peppers; Cascabella Peppers; Cayenne Peppers; Chile Peppers; Chilhuacle Chiles; Chili Powder; Chipotle Chiles; Costeño Amarillo Chile; Dorset Naga Chiles; Green Chile Peppers; Guajillo Chile Peppers; Güero Chiles; Habanero Chile Peppers; Jalapeno Peppers; Lombok; Malagueta Chile Peppers; Mulato Chile Peppers; New Mexico Chile Peppers; Paprika; Pasilla Chile Peppers; Peppadew Peppers; Poblano Chile Pepper; Purira Chile Peppers; Red Chile; Rocotillo Chiles; Rocoto Peppers; Scotch Bonnet Chiles; Scoville Units; Serrano Chile Peppers; Shishito Chiles; Thai Hot Ornamental Peppers; X-cat-ik Chiles; Yellow Chiles

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Also called:

Capsicum frutescens (Scientific Name); Piment de Cayenne, Poivre de Cayenne (French); Cayenne-Pfeffer (German); Pepe di cajenna, Pepe di Caienna (Italian); Pimienta de Cayena (Spanish); Pimenta-de-caiena (Portuguese); Mirchi (Indian)


Oulton, Randal. "Cayenne Peppers." CooksInfo.com. Published 31 March 2001; revised 18 February 2011. Web. Accessed 05/21/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/cayenne-peppers>.

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