Peppers | Biber
Peppers are believed to have originated in Americas and thought to have been used as a food source since as early as 7500 BC. Peppers spread from South America to Central America between 5200 and 3400 BC. Historians credit Christopher Columbus for introducing peppers to Europe. Columbus discovered the locally grown peppers, called aji, on the island of Hispanola in 1492. Interestingly, acı (pronounced a-jah) biber is the Turkish word for spicy pepper.
Following the introduction of the pepper to European cuisine, dried peppers were widely adopted across the continent as a less expensive alternative to black pepper. At the time, black pepper was so valuable that it was even used as currency. Some speculate that Spanish Jews brought peppers to the Mediterranean when they fled the Inquisition (1478 – 1834). Today, Turkey is the third leading producer of peppers in the world.
In Turkey, peppers are consumed fresh, baked, grilled, dried, pickled and preserved. Stuffed peppers (dolma) are a traditional meal.
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