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Black Urfa Chili

Deeply savory and not-so-spicy with cocoa and dried fruit notes.

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Our Black Urfa Chili comes from Urfa, Turkey, where it has been grown and cured for centuries. It has a rich, malty flavor with a lingering burn. The chilis ripen to a bright red color, then are laid out under sheets in the hot summer sun. This technique cures the pepper in its own juices and gives it a deep umami flavor and beautiful dark color. Great in stews, tomato sauces, salad dressings, chocolate desserts or sprinkled over fluffy scrambled eggs.

Please note that the Black Urfa Chili contains a little sunflower oil and may appear to be slightly clumpy or wet. There's nothing to be concerned about — it's all part of what makes the chili so delicious!

Highlights

Origin:

Urfa, Turkey

Aliases:

Urfa biber, isot

Process:

Cured in the sun and stone-ground

Ingredients:

Urfa Chili (Capsicum annuum), sunflower seed oil, salt (salt content is 1% by weight, or about 0.5 grams per jar)

Tasting notes:

Raisin • Espresso • Summer Night

Cooking tips

  • Heat level: 5,000-10,000 Scoville units
  • Sprinkle over roasted vegetables, eggs, or cooked proteins 
  • Stir into brownie batter or chocolate cookie dough 
  • Mix into hummus or other creamy dips 
"Game-changing spice for home cooks who think they have everything."
"The one I obsessed over."
"They've got these beautiful cocoa- and raisin-like flavors, they're lightly smoky, and they bring a lot of cool things to beer... as well as to poached eggs." -Bryan Selders (brewmaster)

SOURCING

Sourcing image

Black Urfa Chili starts out as a red, sweet, spicy pepper almost identical to the more famous Aleppo pepper. It's grown in the hills around the ancient Turkish city of Urfa, where the hot, dry days, cold nights and sandy soil are part of its unique terroir. After harvesting, it's cured in the sun, where it changes color from red to black and develops its characteristic flavor profile, reminiscent of chocolate and dried fruits, with a lingering burn. It goes through a final stone-grinding step, where it's ground into flakes between massive granite wheels with a little bit of sea salt and sunflower seed oil. The oil helps preserve its natural texture and flavor and prevents it from drying out (and is delicious, too!).

Meet the Farmer: Bekir Bey is a chili pepper farmer just outside the city of Urfa, and in this photo he was out picking peppers in the blazing 104-degree heat. He and his family cultivate about 12 acres of chili peppers, almost all of which will be cut up, fermented and ground into the famous Black Urfa Chili Flakes. They spend about 10 months of the year planning, planting, tending, watering and harvesting these very special chili peppers. The combination of pepper variety (same as an Aleppo/Silk Chili), sandy soil, hot dry climate and very particular fermentation method all come together to create a pepper unlike any other in the world.

HEALTH BENEFITS

While we do not make any health claims on any of our spices, there has been some historic and limited recent evidence that chilis can potentially be helpful for:

  • Cancers: Capsaicin shows potential natural cytotoxic and anticancer properties. (ABCDEFG)
  • Increased Longevity: Several studies have shown a significant decrease in mortality associated with regular consumption of chili peppers. (ABC)
  • Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension and Cholesterol: Diets containing chili peppers have shown a correlation with decreased cardiovascular mortality, improved blood pressure and potential for cholesterol reduction. (ABCD) 
  • Osteoarthritis/Pain: Utilizing capsaicin shows potential improvement associated with  chronic osteoarthritis pain, post-herpetic neuralgia and neuropathy. (ABC)   
  • Digestive Health: Chili peppers and capsaicin have been shown to have a gastroprotective effect in peptic ulcer disease, a beneficial effect on human gut microbiota and gastric emptying, and a potential to improve dysphagia symptoms. (ABCDEF) 
  • Obesity: Regular consumption of capsaicinoids show a reduction in appetite and abdominal fat tissue levels, and an increase of energy expenditure. (ABCDEF)
  • Antimicrobial Benefits: Chilis inhibit various microbial pathogen growth, and have the potential to be used as antimicrobials. (ABCD) 
  • Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes: The target receptor of capsaicin (TRPV1) is present on many metabolically active tissues, and may show potential to treat the cluster of risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome and help regulate blood sugar levels. (AB)

Further clinical studies are warranted and in progress. Please always consult your healthcare provider. This is not intended as medical advice.

how do we compare? Supermarket Icon Supermarket Fair Trade Icon Fair Trade
Heirloom Spices Yes No No
Fair Prices for Farmers Yes No Depends on global commodity price
Time in Storage None. We import spices at harvest Up to 10 years At least 1 year
Flavor Profile Intense & fresh Stale & bland Inconsistent
Knows Farmers Names Yes No Unlikely
Customer Service Fast responses from real people! No There might be a 1-800 number?
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