Chillies are the hot fruits of a range of capsicum species that originally came from the warm northern regions of South America. In the past 500 years they have been traded across the warm areas of the globe, and today chillies are an integral ingredient in many different cuisines around the world.

When chillies are harvested, the chilli juice can be highly irritating to the skin and especially to the eyes, so care needs to be taken. Wearing latex gloves when prparing them will prevent the juice from getting on the skin. The antidote for the burning sensation that chilli juice on the skin gives is to rub olive oil or yoghurt onto the affected area. Water will have no effect. It is the seed and the soft tissue that surrounds the seed that causes the burning sensation, so in most cooking styles the seed and the pith is removed, but hardened chilli eaters would not bother.