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Turning Up the Spice

Recent research shows that spicy food is a scorching hot trend these days. The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) discusses the following unique, spicy ingredients being used by food processors to turn up the heat in today's food products.

CHICAGO (Newswise) — Recent research shows that spicy food is a scorching hot trend these days (CEB Iconoculture). In the November issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Senior Associate Editor Karen Nachay writes about the following unique spicy ingredients being used to turn up the heat.

1. Szechuan Peppercorn—A member of the citrus family typically used in some cuisines throughout Asia. The tingling sensation has a slow onset and lingers for a long time.

2. Sriracha—A hot sauce made from chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, salt and sugar.

3. Harissa—A paste typically made from various dried red chili peppers, cumin, coriander, caraway seeds, and garlic.

4. Gochujang—A pungent and savory condiment made from fermented soy beans, red chili peppers, glutinous rice, and salt. It is traditionally used to season Korean entrees like kimchi, and soup.

5. Alpeppo Pepper—A spice from Syria and Turkey that is similar to a chili pepper but with a bit of sweetness and fruitiness. It has a heat level similar to Serrano pepper and is often dried and used as crushed flakes.

6. Za’atar—A blend of sumac, herbs like thyme and oregano, white sesame seeds, and salt. While this condiment is not exactly hot, it can have a nutty, floral herb, and slightly acidic flavor.

7. Hatch chili peppers—A species of cultivated chili peppers that grow in and around Hatch, New Mexico. They have a mild-to-medium heat level that is less than jalapenos. Roasting them brings out brings out sweet and smoky flavors.

8. Shishito peppers—An extremely mild pepper from Japan that can be eaten whole.

Read the full Food Technology article here.

About IFT
For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. Our nonprofit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries — brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit