Chile Peppers: The Science Behind The Spice

'Science Friday' Video:

Chile farmers harvest peppers in the fields of the Curry Seed and Chile Company near Tuscon, Ariz.

Chile farmers harvest peppers in the fields of the Curry Seed and Chile Company near Tuscon, Ariz. Charles Bergquist/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Charles Bergquist/NPR

Science Friday broadcasts this week from the heart of the "chili belt" in Tuscon, Ariz. What makes peppers spicy? Why do some people love spicy foods? Researchers explain the chemistry of peppers and the psychology of spice.

Growing peppers isn't a low-tech task — farmers explain what goes into getting jalapenos from seed to shelf, and how science helps them to do it.

Guests:

Jeff Silvertooth, professor and head of the Soil, Water and Enviornmental Science department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona

Ed Curry, a farmer, and owner of Curry Seed and Chile Company

Gary Nabhan, research social scientist and adjunct professor at the University of Arizona, and author of Why Some Like it Hot: Food, Genes, and Cultural Diversity

Jean England Neubauer, owner of Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.