Green bird’s eye chili is an under-ripe bird’s eye chili. Although it is small in size, its heat is very intense with a slightly bitter and grassier taste.
What is Green Bird’ Eye Chili?
Bird’s eye chili is a chili pepper, a variety from the species Capsicum annuum. Originally brought to Indonesia and across Southeast Asia in the 1500s by Portuguese sailors, the chili pepper is now used extensively in many Asian cuisines.
Bird’s eye chili is around two inches long and they come in a variety of colors, which represent different levels of ripeness. Fully green means that the chili is unripe. It can be eaten in all different stages of maturity, and it may taste different depending on its ripeness. Green chili is slightly on the bitter, grassier side and has a sharper, snappier, more biting heat. Fully red means that the chili is fully ripened. This red chili has a mellower, more fruity, and lasting heat.
Why Is It Called Bird’s Eye Chili?
There are a couple of theories on how this spicy pepper was named. One theory is that it was called “Bird’s Eye” due to some versions of the pepper being small and round, much like a bird’s eye.
Another theory is that bird’s eye chilies got their name because of how their seeds are spread. Birds are not sensitive to capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili its heat, so birds eat these chilis and then spread the seeds through defecation. Both are plausible and the actual origin of the name is not fully verified or known.
How Spicy is Green Bird’s Eye Chili?
Green bird’s eye chili is small in size but packs quite a punch of heat. Although it is less spicy than red bird’s eye chili, it is still considered a medium-high spicy level in Indonesian cooking. Just a couple of chilis can liven up a dish with fiery heat.
The scale used to measure the heat level of chilis is the Scoville scale. The number on the scale represents the concentration of capsaicinoids within different types of chili pepper. Capsaicinoids are the component of chili peppers that cause a burning sensation.
Bird’s eye chili measures 50,000-100,000 Scoville units. To put this in perspective, jalapeno is 2,500-10,000 Scoville units while habaneros range from 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units. This means that the bird’s eye chili is up to 10 times hotter than jalapeno and similar to a mild habanero. In Indonesia, bird’s eye chili is considered a medium-high spicy level.
How To Choose
If you notice any signs of rotting, including soft or dark spots, you should throw them out. Fresh chili peppers should be shiny and firm to the touch. There should be no wrinkles or discolorations before storing.
How To Store
If you plan to use them soon, you can keep fresh chili peppers at room temperature for a few days. Place them into paper bags and keep them in a cool dark place, such as your pantry.
You can also store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 weeks. Do not wash the peppers before storing them. It is best to keep them dry because moisture can speed up the rotting process.
If you plan to freeze them, wash them and you can store them whole or cut. They will last for up to 6 months in the freezer. Place them in an airtight freezer container or ziplock bag. Fill the containers as full as possible or remove as much air as possible to retain their freshness longer.
Chili peppers are also great to dry. You can exactly use dried chilies exactly the same in recipes as you would do fresh ones. Place on a plate or a wire rack in a dry, well-ventilated room. You can also string the chilies up on string or thread and hang them to dry. Within several weeks, you will have dried chili peppers.