If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Don’t Grow Peppers


Carolina Reaper

Some like it hot. No, I’m not referring to the movie. I’m talking about the way people like to spice up their meals. When it comes to heat and spice, people’s tastes run the gamut. Some prefer their meals bland, with very little spice, while others prefer their meals gut-burning, furnace-fire hot.

One of the best ways to heat up a meal is to add in hot peppers. But how do you know which peppers will give you the right amount of heat?

The spiciness/heat of peppers and other spicy foods are measured on what is known as the Scoville scale. Named after Wilbur L. Scoville (1865-1942), this scale measures the amount of capsaicin (8-methyl N-vanillyl 6-nonenamide) and other similar compounds (capsaicinoids). It is these compounds that make peppers “hot” (as well as any meals or sauces to which they are added).

Sweet peppers, which have little or no capsaicin, register zero on the Scoville scale. Others like the habanero, blaze in at 300,000 Scoville heat units (SHU).

Just how hot is hot when it comes to peppers? According to Pepperhead.com, the ten hottest peppers are as follows:

  1. Red Savina Habanero 500,000 SHU
    9. 7 Pot Red (Giant) ~1,000,000 SHU
    8. 7 Pot Barrackpore ~1,000,000 SHU
    7. Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia) 1,041,427 SHU
    6. Naga Viper 1,349,000 SHU
    5. Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” 1,463,700 SHU
    4. 7 Pot Primo 1,469,000 SHU
    3. 7 Pot Douglah 1,853,936 SHU
    2. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion 2,009,231 SHU
    1. Carolina Reaper 2,200,000 SHU

So if you want some spice in your rice and heat in your meat, then mix in some of these babies. In the words of the comic book superhero The Human Torch – FLAME ON!!

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