Pepper lovers are a unique breed of people that the vast majority of those on the outside have trouble understanding. There is something about the spice of a pepper; something about the burning sensation and the way it makes the body feel that drives people to eat them. More so, it drives some people to really push the limits of what peppers they can comsume as well as those growing them to create new and even more intense breeds of these vegetables. The Guinness Book of World Records even has a section rating which are the world's hottest peppers. Before jumping into the challenge of trying to consume these beasts of fiery fury, it is best to know a little bit about them.
Hottest Pepper in The World :
MORUGA SCORPION - 2 Million Scoville
The hotness of a pepper is measured not by the shade of red that a persons face turns when eating it, but by a system known as the Scoville scale. Developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville (hence the name) this scale rates peppers in terms of Scoville heat units (SHUs), which represent the amount of capsaicin (the chemical compound that makes something spicy) that a given pepper contains. Examples of commonly known peppers on the Scoville scale might be a mild Peperoncini rating in at 100-900 SHUs to a spicy habanero falling in the 100,000 to 350,000 SHU range.
There is a great deal of variation among peppers, even
those coming off of the same plant. SHUs can rate
drastically different depending on such things as
climate, soil conditions, the lineage of the seeds used
and just plain natural variation from pepper to pepper.
Some pepper plants thrive in more humid conditions while
others do better in a dry heat. Certain factors in
fertilizer, such as high levels of nitrogen, will cause
a plant to become healthier and larger but only at the
expense of capsaicin levels. Therefore, even though one
pepper may have been ranked as the hottest pepper in the
world, it does not mean that the next pepper of the same
type will be just as spicy.
The title of Worlds Hottest Pepper has passed from
pepper to pepper and the SHUs are rising with each year.
More people are creating hybrid peppers which top the
naturally grown peppers or other hybrids that held the
title previously. This list of spicy champions therefore
begins with the earlier champions and proceeds to the
Red Savina Habanero
(1994 - 2006)
Also known as the Dominican Devils Tongue Pepper, these
little red bites of spice ranked in at 700,000 SHUs and
held the Guinness World Record for more than ten years.
They originated in California at the hands of Frank
Garcia, owner of GNS Spices, when he selectively bred
various habaneros to get the hottest that he could find.
Those who have little problem eating a normal habanero
might find these to be a bit more of a challenge.
Bhut Jolokia Chili Pepper
(2007 - 2010)
This pepper is known by a great many other names,
including Naga Jolokia and Ghost chili. It is a hybrid
pepper cultivated in the Assam region of northeastern
India. A typical Bhut Jolokia is around three inches
long, one inch wide, and ranges in color from bright
red, to yellow, orange and chocolate. In 2007 one of
these fiery vegetables stole the title by ranking in at
just over 1 million SHUs.
The Bhut Jolokia is so potent that people living in
northeastern India smear its juices on the fences around
their houses in order to deter wild elephants from
causing problems. It is currently being developed into a
pepper spray for personal defense as well as tactical
military use. Eventually, even this marvel of chili
fire-power was forced to admit defeat, however. In
December of 2010, the Naga Viper would become the next
Naga Viper Pepper (Dec.
2010 - Feb. 2011; Feb. 25th, 2011 March 1st, 2011)
The glory of the Naga Viper was short-lived. It managed
to remain the worlds hottest pepper for about two months
before losing the title, only to regain it again two
weeks later and then surrender it in less than a week.
Its SHUs measured at just over 1.36 million the second
The Naga Viper is a hybrid pepper, created in Cark,
England at the hands of a farmer by the name of Gerald
Fowler. It is a three-way hybrid composed of the Naga
Jolokia, the Naga Morich and a Trinidad hybrid.
Unfortunately, the plant fails to produce reliable
offspring and makes the Naga Viper difficult to
cultivate. Still, this bright red fireball is so hot
that when Fowler decided to try it in its first recipe,
he had to make those who wanted a taste of the meal sign
a waiver, just in case it turned out to be more than
they could handle.
Infinity Chilli (Feb 2011)
While the Infinity Chilli did make it into the Guinness
Book of World Records, it only did so for two weeks in
the month of February, 2011, before it was beaten out
again by the very same competitor it had defeated. The
Infinity Chilli in question was grown in Grantham,
England, and ranked at over a million on the Scoville
scale. These peppers range in color from red to yellow
Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
(March 2011 - February 6, 2012)
This was the reigning champion of all spicy peppers from
march 2011 till , a
mouth-burning menace known by the name of Trinidad
Scorpion Butch T. It is a specific strain of Trinidad
Scorpion (so named because the end of the pepper
resembles a scorpions stinger) developed by Butch
Taylor, the owner of a hot sauce company. Grown in
Australia, the world record was set by this pepper at
almost 1.5 million SHUs.
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T ranges in color from red
to yellow to orange and is so volatile that to even
handle it, protective gloves are needed. Exposure of the
peppers juice to the eyes can cause temporary blindness.
When these peppers are prepared, a mask or body suit
needs to be worn in order to protect against the highly
potent fumes that are given off while it is cooking.
This is not a pepper recommended to eat straight for
even the hardiest of chili pepper aficionados.
There are many other peppers which, while not the
hottest peppers out there, are still pretty intimidating
to the average person (or even the average pepper
lover). The habanero, the Scotch bonnet and the Datil
pepper are just a few famous names. While not everyone
may be ready to take on the challenge of putting one of
the more potent peppers into their mouth, there are
plenty of less-intense options for those who wish to
explore the diversity of these healthy and deliciously