• Question: What makes chili peppers spicy?

    Asked by kamilo12 to Kate, Mark U, Tess, Yue on 1 May 2012.
    • Photo: Tess Newman

      Tess Newman answered on 1 May 2012:

      Chili peppers contain a substance called ‘capsaicin’, which causes the burning hot feeling we associate with chili. The part of the chili containing the most capsaicin is actually the membrane holding the seeds, rather than the flesh of the chili itself. It is also the active ingredient in anti-riot pepper sprays

    • Photo: Kate Davies

      Kate Davies answered on 2 May 2012:

      Hey the kamilo12, Chilli pepper spice comes form the irritant called ‘capsaicin’ found inside of peppers, if you cut open a chilli you will see there is a white fleshy part that holds in the seeds, and this is where that capsaicin is found, when ingested (eaten) it will bind with pain receptors in the back of the throat, which the brain reads and indicates to us the sensation of eating something hot, which is why sometimes when you eat something with chilli in you may not immediately ‘feel the heat!!’ try it in chocolate and you will see what i mean, there is only a small amount in the Chilli chocolate and when you first eat it you may not think it is there but give it 30 seconds or so and the warming sensation in the back of you throat will tell you it is!! Hope this helps :0)