With the growing popularity of spicy food, it’s always seemed odd that there wasn’t a more structured heat scale to define which type of pepper is truly the hottest. However, New Mexico State University’s Chile Pepper Institute recently identified and confirmed the new hottest chili pepper on the planet.
The pepper in question is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, about the size of a golf ball and recipient of an average heat of over 1.2 million units on the Scoville heat scale. After months of research of the known hottest chili breeds, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Came out on top, with some individual plants reaching over 2 million units on the Scoville scale.
This project was supported by prominent members of the spicy foods industry to determine average heat levels for the world’s spiciest peppers. This way, a less subjective analysis could be used rather than the previous unscientific claims about which types of peppers are actually the hottest. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion has been described as mild at first, but steadily building in heat.
In establishing a chili heat index, the Chile Pepper Instituted decided to judge the mean score of several pepers rather than just the hottest individual one, making the findings less variable. The same type of chili pepper can vary in heat depending on environmental conditions such as heat or water exposure. The research team planted about 125 plants of several varieties of peppers, including the Bhut Jolokia which was a previous record-holder identified by the institute and certified by the Guinness World Records back in 2007. Mature fruits were randomly selected, harvested, and turned into powder.
Capsaicinoids are the compounds that produce the heat sensation, and these were extracted from the samples and closely examined. The team harvesting these peppers went through about four pairs of latex gloves because the capsaicinoids kept breaking through the gloves and soaking into their skin.
News about the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion’s heat has already spread within the spicy food industry, as the demand for plants and seeds are beginning to skyrocket. Videos have also appeared online of people eating whole peppers. Chili peppers make the blood flow increase and endorphins flow, resulting in red faces, watery eyes and a fiery sensation.
The peppers are also known to be some of the most flavorful peppers, making an excellent hot sauce. Depending on how much of a pepper you choose to use per serving, you could make a mild to hot sauce, and a family of could reasonably use two peppers to flavor their meals for a week.
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