Economic utilization of Capsicums As a food flavourant

Dry chilli is used extensively as a spice in all types of curried dishes in India and abroad. Grinding roasted dry chilli with other condiments such as coriander, cumin, turmeric and farinaceous matter makes curry powder. It is also used in seasoning egg, fish and meat preparations, sauces, chutneys, pickles, frankfurters and sausages. Bird chilli is used in making hot sauces, such as pepper sauce and tabasco sauce. 'Mandram' is a West Indies stomachic preparation made by adding cucumber, shallot, lime juice and Madeira wine to the mashed fruits of bird chilli.

Ai a colourant and flavourant

Paprika and red pepper, which are mild in pungency, are used to colour, flavour and garnish dishes. The use of attractive red paprika in tomato ketchup and sauces are also encouraged for improving colour. It is expected that as coal-tar based- artificial or synthetic food colours are banned, the chilli/Capsicum!paprika colour may have a good demand as a 'natural plant colourant', as a substitute for synthetic colours in the food industry. NRDC/RRL, Trivandrum (1979) has developed a process for the fractionation of chilli-pericarp oleoresin into a highly pungent low-colour fraction for the pharmaceutical industry and a colour-rich fraction free from pungency for the colouring of foods. This colour fraction can also serve as an alternative to paprika colour extract used in food industries.

In medicine

Capsicum preparations are used as counter-irritants in lumbago, neuralgia and rheumatic disorders. Taken internally, Capsicum has a tonic and carminative action and is especially useful in atonic dyspepsia. It is, however, contra-indicated in gastric catarrh. Taken inordinately, it may cause gastro-enteritis. It is sometimes added to rose gargles for pharyngitis and it relaxes a sore throat. It can be administered in the form of powder, tincture, linament, plaster, ointment or medicated wool. In some of the preparations, 'Oleoresins Capsici B.P.C.' syn. 'Capsaicin', the alcohol-soluble fraction or ether extract of Capsicum is the active ingredient. Pharmacopoeial requirements are chiefly met by the highly pungent varieties of Capsicum (C. frutescens) grown in Sierra Leone, Nyasaland and Zanzibar. Indian Capsicum, known in trade as 'Bombay Capsicum is used as a substitute (Wealth of India, 1985).

In pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries

Besides the use in food processing industries, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries use chilli oleoresin of high pungency and low colour. This oleoresin known as oleoresin Capsicum is used in pain-balms, vaporubs and linaments since the pungent principle 'capsaicin' serves as an effective 'counter-irritant' (Wealth of India, 1985).

Seed oil ( fixed or non-volatile)

Seed oil is a byproduct and can be used for edible purposes. Seed cake

The solvent-extracted residue from chilli seed, having a protein content of 27—29% with negligible pungency, can be used as a fertilizer or as an animal feed.

Seeds

Seeds of good viability are also required for growing in nurseries or for cultivation purposes. Dehydrated green chillies

Dehydrated green pepper is a good source of vitamin C. The pre-treatments and standard conditions for producing best quality dehydrated green chillies have been determined (Luhadia and Kulkarni, 1978). Dehydrated green chillies can find use in food industries as well.

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