Essential Herbs & Spices for a Healthy Kitchen, Part 3: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Flakes

Essential Herbs & Spices for a Healthy Kitchen, Part 3: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Flakes

Black Peppercorn, Garlic Powder, and Onion Powder are probably the most used seasonings in my kitchen. I keep the peppercorn grinder right behind the stovetop so I can easily grab it when I am cooking. When it’s possible, I prefer to use fresh garlic and onion, but a lot of times, for pure convenience, I use the seasonings.


Cayenne Pepper

Essential Herbs & Spices for a Healthy Kitchen, Part 3: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Flakes

Health Benefits

In addition to adding a bit of spice to a meal, cayenne pepper has many health benefits and has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal herb.

  • Allergy Prevention
  • Anti-fungal
  • Antibacterial
  • Blood Clot Prevention
  • Detox
  • Digestion Health
  • Metabolism Booster
  • Migraine Pain Relief
  • Weight Loss

Cooking with Cayenne Pepper


Cayenne pepper is a perfect addition to meats, pasta, and vegetables. Just start small because it has a very strong flavor and can add too much spice for some (like me) if you go overboard.

Cayenne Pepper Recipes

Growing Cayenne Pepper

While I haven’t grown cayenne peppers in the garden, I have grown bell peppers, and they are grown in a similar fashion. They thrive in warm, humid, tropical climates with a lot of sun and water. You can start them as seeds or starter plants, just make sure they aren’t exposed to temperatures cooler than about 60F.

It takes about 70-80 days for the peppers to grow, and they are ready to harvest when they are about 4-6 inches long and the stems will break easily. Remove the peppers from the plant and hang them to dry until they are shriveled. It helps to use a small needle and thread to thread the tops of the peppers for them to hang. Once they are dried out, you can store them in an airtight container like this for months, and when you need cayenne pepper, just use a grinder to make some into powder.

Purchasing & Storing Tips

Cayenne pepper can be purchased as a powder from the spice aisle at your favorite grocery store. As long as it’s in an airtight container it should last for a long time.


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Paprika

Essential Herbs & Spices for a Healthy Kitchen, Part 3: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Flakes

Health Benefits

For many years paprika has been used for medicinal purposes, but new discoveries recently prove that it helps with a much larger variety of ailments than originally known. Paprika was discovered in the New World in the 1400s and brought back to Europe, Africa, and Asia where it became extremely popular in Hungary where they are especially known for their goulash with paprika.

  • Aids in Autoimmune Conditions
  • Anemia Fighter
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Blood Pressure Reduction
  • Blood Sugar Reduction
  • Cancer-Fighter
  • Eye Health

Cooking with Paprika

Paprika is made from ground red-colored peppers such as bell pepper, chili pepper, and cayenne peppers. Many cultures use paprika in a large variety of ways. In the US it’s commonly used on deviled eggs and in bbq recipes, ketchup, meats, potato salad, and similar dishes. Mexican cuisines use it for sauces and salsas. Across the world, paprika is used to spice up everything from seafood to rice.

Growing Paprika

Since paprika is another type of red pepper, it is grown in the same way as the cayenne peppers. Paprika peppers are ready to harvest when they are bright red in color, then will need to be hung to dry and ground down to a powder.

Purchasing & Storing Tips

If you are looking to buy ready-made paprika, you can purchase it at the store from the spice aisle. There are usually two types of paprika, either Spanish or Hungarian. They are similar in flavor with the Spanish Paprika being smoked to get the peppers to dry out while the Hungarian form is sun-dried.


Red Chili Flakes

Essential Herbs & Spices for a Healthy Kitchen, Part 3: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Flakes

Health Benefits

For centuries, cooks in Southern Italy have been using red peppers to spice up their pasta and pizza even before knowing the plethora of health benefits that the plant gives us.

  • Antioxidant
  • Blood Sugar Reduction
  • Cholesterol Reduction
  • Heart HealthImmunity Booster
  • Nausea Treatment
  • Stomach Ulcers Protection
  • Stroke Risk Reduction

Cooking with Red Chili Flakes

Adding red chili pepper flakes or crushed red pepper to your meal adds a spice to the foods. As with any seasoning, take it slowly to start as it can become overwhelming in high quantities.

Growing Red Chili Pepper

Red Chili Pepper Flakes are made from, you guessed it, red chili peppers. There are a few types of red chili peppers you can grow, and the one you choose will be based on how hot you want your flakes. Either way, once you choose, they are grown and harvested in the same way as the cayenne peppers and paprika peppers.

To make the flakes from fresh peppers, you’ll want to cut the stems off of the peppers and lay them out on a cookie sheet. Set the oven to a low temperature to dehydrate the peppers. You can also use a dehydrator or hang them in the sun to dry. Either way, once they are dried out, use a food processor and pulse to get them to the texture you desire.

Purchasing & Storing Tips

Premade red chili pepper flakes are, of course, the easy way to do it. These can be found in the spice aisle or sometimes with pizza toppings.


Sources:

  1. http://www.gettystewart.com/how-to-make-homemade-cayenne-pepper/
  2. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/pepper/growing-cayenne-peppers.htm
  3. https://draxe.com/
  4. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/pepper/growing-paprika-peppers.htm
  5. https://www.pepperscale.com/crushed-red-pepper-recipe/
Essential Herbs & Spices for a Healthy Kitchen, Part 3: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Flakes

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13 thoughts on “Essential Herbs & Spices for a Healthy Kitchen, Part 3: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Red Chili Flakes

  1. Oh man your post is the wrong one to read when you’re starving! Oh your recipes sound so good! Since I am a huge believe in natural remedies and essential oils…I LOVE that you included the health benefits of each spice. It was great to find out some of the history of each spice too. Like, I said I completely addicted to natural remedies so this article deserves an A+ in my book.

  2. wow, this post is a treasure! All three gathered and currated perfectly in one place! I could not choose honestly, don’t make me choose I love them all so much! I use paprika on anything, I’m basically addicted! Red chilli flakes on top of my soups at winter and cayenne pepper in my herbal tea with lemon and honey! Yum!

  3. Confession time. I have been seriously lacking on seasoning my food. I’ve been doing a lot of meal prep but it’s all coming out bland. Your post is reminding me that the seasoning has health benefits too!

  4. Oh I LOVE seasoning! My favorite is paprika! I’ve been putting thyme in my meatloaf and my husband doesn’t like it! I’m like whaaaat it tastes so much better with in my opinion, ESPECIALLY since he wont let me put onions or peppers in it!

  5. What a beautiful list! 🙂 I love this and it makes me want to run to the grocery store now and buy all of these fresh, lovely and healthy ingredients for our home.

  6. I love cayenne pepper! I had no idea that it had so many health benefits. Like antifungal? WHO KNEW?!?! I’m so excited to incorporate some of these recipes! I’ve got my eye on that Nacho Dip!

  7. We love cooking with peppers, often times we sauté them and put them on pizzas or in stir fries. I didn’t know all the benefit they had though.

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