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What's the Hottest Chili Pepper?

Apr 13, 2016

Trivia to Impress Your Friends

chili pepperChili peppers originated in Mexico, where chili seeds dating back 9000 years were found. The first European to “discover” chili peppers was Christopher Columbus, and it was the Portuguese who introduced chilis through their trading activities to Africa, India, and much of Asia.

It is said that when Columbus found the small hot pods, he named them pimientos, the Spanish word for pepper.

Capsaicin, the hot substance in chili peppers, is not water soluble but is soluble in fat and alcohol. So if your mouth burns after eating a hot pepper, don’t drink water to cool it - instead drink milk because certain protein compounds in milk literally work like detergent to strip the capsaicin from its receptor binding sites. Beer, ice cream or guacamole will also help put out the fire.

The seeds are not the hottest part of peppers. The highest concentration of capsaicin is found at the point where the seed is attached to the white membrane inside the pepper.

The heat produced by spices or foods is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Jalapenos have an average range of 5,000 to 7,000 (SHU) while Habanero peppers generally average 200,000 to 300,000 (SHU). The world’s hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, averages 1,569,300 SHU. The hottest Carolina Reaper came it at 2.2 million SHU!

Important Facts

Here's what you need to know:
  • Chili peppers should be kept at 40-45° F.
  • Good-quality Jalapeno peppers should be firm, smooth-skinned and have solid green coloring. Dry, brownish lines are not a blemish. They are signs of a mature pepper and indicate hotness and flavor.
  • Chili peppers are good for you. They are high in vitamins, a good source of beta carotene, calcium, and potassium, and may help reduce cholesterol.

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