Chili peppers are the name given to fruit from the plants that belong to the Capsicum family. There are many different types of chili pepper plants. Many species of chili peppers are known for their spiciness, which comes from the chemical capsaicin and other related substances. Every species has a different amount of these chemicals, which means that chili peppers range from very mild through to extremely spicy. The measurement of the spicy heat in a chili pepper is called the Scoville scale and the number Scoville heat units (SHU) shows the amount of capsaicin in the pepper. Continue reading to find out which chili pepper tops the Scoville scale.
The Scoville scale starts at 0 where peppers with no detectable spiciness, such as the bell pepper, are ranked. The next level is 100-900 for peppers such as the pimento and Banana pepper. Other well known peppers include the Jalapeño pepper (2500-8000), Cayenne pepper (30,000-50,000) and the habanero chili (100,000-350,000).
What is the hottest chili pepper in the world?
Prior to 2011 the Bhut Jolokia chili pepper was the hottest chili pepper in the world rated at at maximum SHU of 1,041,427. In February 2011 the Infinity Chilli pepper became the hottest chili at 1,067,286 SHU and later that month it was overtaken by the Naga Viper pepper, which came in at a maximum of 1,382,118 SHU. Just 1 month later the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T became the hottest pepper in the world by registering 1,463,700 Scoville heat units.
Did you know?
The Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili pepper is so spicy that workers who touch it much wear protective gloves. When cooking with this chili the fumes are so strong that a body suit and chemical mask must be worn.
Pepper spray is made from capsaicin and is rated on the Scoville scale between 500,000 and 2,000,000 SHU.