Peppers: history and origins
The pepper is a fresh vegetable originally developed in countries with a very hot clime and more precisely in South American regions: it seems, in fact that its cultivation started in Brazil and Jamaica.
This fresh vegetable was not known in other countries until 1493, when Christopher Columbus went for the second time to the Americas and discovered by chance the plant, probably on an island of the Caribbean; later Columbus imported it to Spain: peppers are widespread since old times, but began to be present on the European tables starting from the XVI century.
In the past, the consumption of the hot varieties of this fruit and vegetable product was widespread to such an extent, above all in Mexico, that for a long time chilli peppers ( hot peppers varieties) were the only spice consumed by the Mexicans, the Chileans and the indigenous people of the Americas, and still today they are largely consumed.
Curiously, peppers were firstly used as a food like a spice not only in Mexico, but also in the rest of the world, because almost only the varieties of hot peppers were known.
Just because of their hot taste,peppers did not have great success in Europe, at least until the end of the XIX century and the first years of the XX century, when more sweet and domestic varieties of peppers were created. However, we must also consider that many researchers agree that when Spaniards arrived in Mexico, there were already countless varieties of peppers of the Capsicum annuum species, developed among local people.
The Italian name "peperone” (pepper) actually comes from the discover done by Chrisopher Colubus, who thought to be in India and was searching for rare spices to export to Europe; he was particularly struck by the hot taste of chilli peppers which, for their likeness with pepper (“pepe” in Italian), he mistook with a new variety of red pepper.
Pepper, if dried and used like a spice, has also other names: apart from the italian peperoncino), name that changes according to the different countries in which they are used and cultivated, the name chili is very widespread (used very often in English); this name comes from the original word used in the language of the Indigenous of Central America, who called this type of fruit and vegetable product “chilli or xilli”. As well as chilli, another spice, deriving from the ground peppers, is produced and very widespread worldwide: it is paprika, variety of sweet peppers that are dried, ground and then mixed with flour.
Despite the fact that this fruit and vegetable product is not known since a lot of time on the world fruit and vegetable market, thanks to its organoleptic characteristics, peppers have increasingly routed in modern culture; furthermore, thanks to its great versatility in cuisine, the pepper has gained more and more space on the modern fruit and vegetable market. In the world fruit and vegetable sector countless vrieties of peppers are produced and nowadays the pepper is one of the fresh vegetables with more varieties produced and traded on the international fruit and vegetable market. Nowadays, there are many companies that produce peppers, certified companies for the production of peppers, producers of peppers, companies that produce organic peppers, companies that deal with the trade of peppers and the packaging of peppers, retailers of peppers, importers of peppers, exporters of peppers, wholesalers of peppers: such a great number of varieties strongly increased competition among the world countries (EU-members and not) for the productions of pepper and the trade of peppers.