Siling Labuyo Chile Peppers
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The Siling Labuyo chile is a petite pepper growing only one half to one inch in length. The pods have an oval shape that tappers slightly towards a rounded tip end. Its smooth skin matures from green to red, orange, yellow, purple, or even black as it ripens, the most commonly consumed cultivator being the red variety. The Siling Labuyo chile is a very pungent and spicy pepper offering between 80,000 and 100,000 Scoville units.
The Siling Labuyo chile pepper is available in the late summer and early fall months.
The Siling Labuyo chile pepper is botanically known as Capsicum frutescens ‘Siling Labuyo’. The Siling Labuyo was at one time considered the hottest chile pepper in the world, however, it has now been replaced with hotter varieties. Since 1995 the Siling Labuyo has been used to make a popular hot sauce available in commercial markets of the Philippines known as Mama Sita’s Pure Siling Labuyo Sauce. The Siling Labuyo chile pepper was added to the Slow Food Arc of Taste in 2014, a database of food items that are at risk of extinction that Slow Food aims to educate the public about in effort to preserve them for future generations.
Like many varieties of chile pepper the capsicum in the Siling Labuyo chile is not only responsible for the spicy heat of the pepper but for an array of health benefits as well. Siling Labuyo has been used as a way to trigger the body to release endorphins which can then act as a pain reliever in treatment of toothache and arthritic conditions. Additionally it has been used to treat dyspepsia, flatulence and to lower blood pressure. The Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) has been studying Siling Labuyo chile peppers for their use in prevention of certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The leaves additionally are consumed and known to provide a source of calcium, fiber and iron.
Siling Labuyo chile peppers are a classic ingredient in the cuisine of the Philippines and are utilized to add heat and a spicy pepper flavor to preparations. They can be utilized whole or chopped up to flavor soups, stews, curries and sauces. One of the most common uses of the pepper is crushing them into a mixture of vinegar and other spices such as ginger, onion and garlic to make a liquid hot sauce. Chopping the peppers and using whole, seeds included will yield the spiciest output for the pepper. To slightly mellow the heat of the peppers they can first be blanched and seeds removed. Siling Labuyo peppers can also be dried and saved for use later or ground down to make a powdered seasoning. Their flavor and spice pairs well with shellfish, seafood, chicken, sautéed vegetables, papaya, mango, sweet potato, ginger, garlic, onion, sugarcane, vinegar, soy sauce, and coconut milk. Siling Labuyo peppers should be stored in the refrigerator or a cool dry area and are best used within one to two weeks.
In Tagalog its name, Siling Labuyo, translates to mean “wild chili” a nod to the way the pepper was originally found to be growing wild extensively in the Philippines and how it was distributed all over the continent supposedly by wild chickens which feasted on the pepper plants. The Luzon Islands of Mindanao and Bicol in the central Philippines are renowned for their spicy cuisine which prominently features use of the Siling Labuyo pepper. The pepper pods are commonly used in a dish known as gulay na lada or bicol express which consists of Siling Labuyo chile peppers and coconut milk. The leaves known as “dahon ng sili” are also utilized and are a popular ingredient in Filipino dishes such as monggo and tinola.
Native to the Philippines it is believed that an ancestor of the Siling Labuyo pepper made its way to the Philippines via Mexico way of the Galleon Trade ship which traveled between Acapulco and Manila. After years of growing wild and adapting to the soil and climate of the Philippines the Siling Labuyo was born and quickly rose to become a staple seasoning in the cuisine of the Philippines. In addition to long being a popular pepper on the commercial market the Siling Labuyo is commonly grown in home gardens, both in spacious yards and in the cities in flower pots. In recent years the commercial market in the Philippines has seen an influx in the variety of hot chili peppers from neighboring countries, a change that has contributed to a decline in the Siling Labuyo peppers popularity and availability.
Recipes that include Siling Labuyo Chile Peppers. One is easiest, three is harder.
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