Hey Foodie, when was the last time you did bite on to a Chilli pepper? Can you recollect the moment, how you gulped down glasses of water but it was of no help. You felt like it was the hottest chili pepper in the world. Everyone in life experiences this at least once. The spicy chili with all its hotness hits your tongue. And no matter how much tolerant you are to the spicy hotness but there is always that one chili pepper which is beyond your threshold of endurance.
By the end of this post you will know why this happened and why the water couldn’t help you. Plus the main focus here would be on some of the hottest chili peppers from around the world. Chili peppers are the most adored when it comes to spicing up your food. Are you aware about where the Chili peppers get that spicy hotness from? It is definitely not from the seeds. That punch of strong hotness comes from the skin but the ribs of the chili peppers carry the maximum punch.
The component which imparts this pungency to the chili pepper is the alkaloid called capsaicin. It is present in all chili peppers which belong to the genus Capsicum. It is an irritant substance in nature which can cause burning sensation when it comes in contact with any body part of any mammals. Are you gaining new information as this blog is progressing? So fasten your seat belts, this fiery ride is about the hottest chili peppers and I am sure you will feel the heat by the end of it.
- How the Spice Quotient is measured?
- List of Hottest Chili Peppers of the World
- Some Lesser Known Facts about Chili Peppers
How the Spice Quotient is measured?
It becomes a tricky situation when anything related to taste has to be quantified. I mean can you imagine if someone asks you to define the taste of any dish. You try hard but eventually you end up saying, “you need to eat it to know it.” Similar is the case with the tasting hottest chili pepper. All thanks to American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville that, he invented a test to measure the pungency of the spiciness of chili peppers.
The test is all about diluting the sample of chili pepper in sugar solution gradually till a point when no human taster is able to taste the hotness of the chili pepper. The measuring units for this is the SHU (Scoville Heat Units). Needless to say that it is not the most effective method as it was developed in 1912 CE which is more than 100 years old. As this one relies on manual intervention for tasting the samples and the results cannot be 100% accurate.
For being precise in measuring the spiciness or hotness of the hottest chili peppers of the world you need techniques like high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Where the results are interpreted via digital computing. As growing the hottest chili pepper of the world is a huge matter of pride, nothing lesser than this is acceptable. Some cultivators of chili peppers dedicate years to grow the hottest chili peppers of the world and Guinness book of world record appreciates their work after it is validated by laboratory reports.
List of Hottest Chili Peppers of the World
Just to make you familiar with the concept of SHU measurement for tasting hotness, I will give you few examples of some spicy chili peppers that you have already tasted. To put this thing into perspective, Tabasco is around 2500 to 5000 SHU and Jalapenos range from 2500 to 8000 SHU. The Green Chilies measure up in the range of 15000 to 30000 SHU and Red Chili pepper (Lal Mirchi) ranges from 30000 to 50000 SHU. Now I hope you have some idea about this spicy scale and you will be able to relate it well. So let’s get started with the tasting sessions.
Ghost Pepper also called Bhut Jolokia
Putting India on the world map of hottest chili pepper is the former record holder Bhut Jolokia. Have you heard about the hottest chili pepper of India? It is cultivated in the Northeast and is a cross between Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens and held this coveted title in the year 2007 to be noted in the Guinness Book of World Records. With an SHU score of 1,041,427 SHU it becomes deadly.
Generally used to spice up pork curries and other meat curries it is used in moderation. Apart from culinary usage, it has been used in smoke grenades by Indian Army to disperse rioters. In 2015 it was used to flush out a terrorist hiding in a cave. So this is a multipurpose chili pepper which is worthy as a subject of further research.
Another one of the hottest Chili pepper which has over a million SHU score which is 1,100,100 SHU. The colour of this one is closer to the shade of chocolate with higher milk content. Staying true to the colour, the initial tasting gives you a slight notes of cacao and floral scent. It is exclusively grown by “Pepper Joe’s” who are passionate growers of Chili peppers for around 30 years now.
7-Pot Red Giant
Capable of spicing 7 pots of stew with a single unit, this is the kind of fiery hotness that most of the stews lack. It is initially green in colour and then turns dark brown depending on various external factors. The texture of the skin is filled with tiny dots. With 1,200,000 SHU it is surely going to take your breath away.
It is a 3 way hybrid which is relatively hard to sustain genetically. So each time the 3 different variants has to be crossed to get this hottest chili pepper. The 3 variants from which this chili pepper is derived are Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia and the Trinidad scorpion. It was the title holder in 2011 with hotness of 1,382,118 SHU. Created in England by Gerald Fowler of ‘The Chilli Pepper Company’.
Komodo Dragon Chili Pepper
This one is damn hot contender at hotness levels of 1,400,000 SHU. The only twist it has is the 10 seconds late reaction. If you eat this one, then you can eat it initially to find fruity notes and once you breach the 10 seconds time interval the hotness kicks in and then the burn follows. It is grown by one of the largest Chili pepper producer of UK, Mr. Salvatore Genovese.
Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper
Indigenous to the region of Trinidad and Tobago, it derives its name from the Scorpion tail like appearance at the end. This also held the title of world’s hottest chili pepper for a short time. The hotness of this one is 1,463,700 SHU. Another part of its name comes from the original owner Mr. Butch Taylor who gave the seeds to Neil Smith for propagating this chili pepper. A tip to achieve this hotness is by fertilizing the soil with the liquid runoff of a worm farm.
Also called the ‘Serpent Chili’ which is grown in Bangladesh and the seven sisters of India. It is usually eaten fresh before it ripens and reaches maximum hotness. With notes of oranges and Pineapples it is said to have fruity notes. With highest score of 1,598,227 SHU this is one of the hottest chili peppers. It was the first chili pepper to break the 1,000,000 SHU mark.
One more from Trinidad that is from the 7-Pot family of chili peppers. Clocking at 1,853,986 SHU, I am sure that this can spice more than 7 pots of the stew. What you think? 7 Pot Douglah is about 232 times hotter than the hottest jalapeno pepper and more than 5 times of a very hot habanero pepper. Along with fruity notes a taster can always find some earthy and nutty flavour just before the burn starts. Sometimes I wonder how sharp the taste buds of a chili taster should be!
It is common in western countries to use this in various recipes and marinades but to work with this you need to wear proper gloves and mask with laboratory goggles in order to avoid any mishap. It can certainly burn a hole on your clothes. So anytime in future if you get to work with this chili pepper then please remember me as the Samaritan who warned you in advance.
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
Notoriously famous for being the first hottest chili pepper to cross the 2 million SHU mark. Another one from Trinidad and Tobago which is adding some fiery hotness to the world. It was grown by Wahid Ogeer in the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago hence it derived its name like that. New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute performed heat tests on it in 2012 but due to some reasons the Guinness Book team refused to consider the claim. How unfair that is? Actually nasty. Once you have a bite, the burn and heat keeps increasing and you will realize that you had so many nerves which are now leaking absolutely.
In 2017 it beat the Scorpion Butch T to win the title of the world’s hottest chili pepper. It recorded hotness of 2,200,00 SHU which is unfathomable. No matter how many chilies you have eaten till date, this one might be off limits to you. It is named as Carolina reaper because of the tail that resembles Grim Reaper’s sickle and was developed by South Carolina breeder Ed Currie. It is cross breed of two mighty chili peppers, La Soufriere pepper from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and a Naga Viper.
Dragon’s Breath and Pepper X
There are 2 Chili peppers who claim to be hotter than the Carolina Reaper. But they are yet to produce the required laboratory test results and hence they are on hold. Dragon’s Breath was initially grown for extracting an essential oil out of its skin which could be a potential skin anesthetic. It was named Dragon’s Breath after the Welsh dragon as it was grown in Wales by Mike Smith. It is said to have a hotness of around 2,480,000 SHU. Certainly hotter than Carolina Reaper.
Next challenger of the title is the Pepper X. It is grown by the cultivator of Carolina Reaper himself. It is said that he has achieved the hotness and spicy extreme notes after breeding and crossing the plants for 10 years now. It is having a hotness of 3,180,000 SHU and Ed Currie claims it to be 2 times hotter than Carolina Reaper. But again, they have to produce enough evidence to support the claim.
Some Lesser Known Facts about Chili Peppers
Due to high mutation there are more than 2000 types of Chili peppers in the world.
The hotness and burning is felt only by Mammals as other creatures do not have the receptors for the capsaicinoids.
Chili pepper has lot more Vitamin C than an orange. 107 mg vs 69 mg. shocking right?
They really open up your nerves which is why, while you have a blocked sinus a spicy dish with lots of chili pepper unblocks the sinuses.
Chili peppers release feel-good endorphins and dopamine, because your brain interprets the burn from hot peppers as pain, which can ultimately result in a sense of euphoria similar to a “runner’s high.” As quoted on insidehook.com
Capsaicin provides the heat in flavor but in reality it is the defense mechanism of the plant against the pests and insects.
Chili pepper burns more calories when consumed, by raising the body’s core temperature during digestion. They trigger a reaction in your gut that tells your nervous system to produce more brown fat, which is the healthy type of fat. So you can include them in your weight loss program.
The Capsaicin is oily alkaloid and hence when on your tongue no amount of water is enough to calm that burn. In fact the water spreads it in the entire mouth which increases the burning sensation.
So this marks an end to the hot and spicy journey. Frankly speaking I was only aware about the Bhut Jolokia as being the world’s hottest chili pepper. There are many more chili peppers which are too spicy too be handle by normal palate, even by Indian standards. You can read here about the list of 22 hottest chili peppers from matadornetwork.com if this topic interests you. I chose only those chili peppers which had an SHU above 1 million. Because I consider that as my reader you can handle tough situations of life till 99,99.999 SHU. You can surely take that much heat, can’t you? Let me know in the comments.
So how many Chili peppers from this list you already knew. If you liked this post then you might also like 28 of World’s Largest Vegetables and Fruits! Voila!!! I keep writing interesting posts like this. In case you have any queries or suggestions then you can either DM me on foodie_khiladi007 or write to me at [email protected] I would be waiting to hear from you.
With this your Foodie Khiladi signs off for the day in a hope that you will share it with your friends and family. I will see you soon in my next post till then keep smiling and sharing the smiles. Let the spiciness in your life be intact.