It's incorrect to call this spice "Cayenne pepper," since it is not part of the Piperaceae family (like black pepper), but rather a member of the Solanaceae family like other chilis. It is dark red, very long and thin, measuring 5-7 cm. It is usually dried and ground to a powder.
Its cultivation dates back to pre-Columbian times. It seems to have originated around the Cayenne river in French Guyana, though this variety is no longer grown in Guyana. In Cayenne markets you'll find a very hot chili paste called pili-pili, instead of cayennes!
Very piquant, hot flavor.
Cayenne is widely used in Latin America and India. It is also a key component of Tabasco sauce, as well as chili and curry seasonings.
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