The Hottest Chili Pepper in the World

There has been much debate about which is the hottest chili pepper in the world. It’s a bit confusing since it’s actually changed over the years. Most recently, the Carolina Reaper has been named the hottest chili in the world. How do the powers that be decide on which pepper is the world’s hottest pepper? It used to be that people lined up and tasted peppers to determine which was hottest. However, the results can vary due to each person’s sensitivity to heat. Anyone who has enjoyed hot chili peppers knows how you not only develop a taste for them, but the taste buds get used to them and you can stand hotter flavors if they are eaten regularly. Even though that’s all there was, it just wasn’t best. Eventually, a more consistent way to test the heat of peppers came about. We call it the Scoville scale. 

The Scoville Heat Unit Scale

The Scoville scale was developed back in 1912 as a way to determine a ranking for chili pepper heat. Wilber Scoville decided to measure how hot different peppers were. He created a Scoville Organoleptic Test to determine how much capsaicin was in a pepper. Capsaicin is a substance found in peppers that give them their heat. As you can imagine, mild peppers like the bell have very little, if any capsaicin. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.

Sweet peppers like cherry peppers or bell peppers measure about 500 SHU on the bottom of the scale. This means they do not contain large amounts of capsaicin and they have virtually no heat. One of the most popular pepper, the jalapeno ranks in at merely 10,000 to 15,000 SHUs. In the middle of the scale with moderate heat you’ll find the popular tabasco pepper at 50,000 SHUs which many people consider hot. Ranking in at 350,000 SHUs is the habanero which used to hold the crown as the hottest chili in the world. And at the top of the scale presently ranking as the hottest chili pepper in the world is the Carolina Reaper weighing in with between 1,500,000 and 2,200,000 SHUs.

About the Carolina Reaper Chili Pepper

Carolina Reaper is easily a favorite when it comes to the world’s hot peppers. It dethroned many popular chilies to reach the top.  The main goal of developing the Reaper pepper was for medical research. The idea is to use the capsaicin that is extracted from the pepper, to treat cancer and heart disease. This research is still ongoing today.

In 2013, the Carolina Reaper was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the hottest chili pepper in the world. 

Uses of the Carolina Reaper Pepper

There are unlimited uses of the world’s hottest pepper. The Reaper can be smoked or dried. It can also be dried and crushed into powder so it can be used to spice up any recipe. Not only can it add spice and flavor to any cuisine, it can also be made into pepper sauces and pepper mash. Most of the time, the Carolina Reaper is not eaten fresh, but it since it owns the world hot chili crown, it is often used in pepper eating contests. Jason McNabb held the record for eating 3 Reapers in a mere 10.95 seconds. But that was in 2014 and this record was replaced in Brooklyn when in April of 2016 Wayne Algenio ate 22 Carolina Reapers in one minute. 

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