Meet the Hottest Pepper in the World – The Carolina Reaper
Just about 20 years ago, the hottest pepper in the world was the habanero. Habaneros pack quite a bit of heat and are among the hottest chilies. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it reigned between “94 and ’06. The Red Savanah Habanero measured in as high as 577,000 SHUs. In 2007, the Bhut Jolokia took over the title as the hottest pepper in the world as it topped a million SHUs. In 2011, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T took over the crown but only lasted a year when the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper took the title. It topped out the heat unit scale at 2 million SHUs. However, this was never recognized officially. More recently, however, the Carolina Reaper sits at about 1,569,300 Scoville units according to Guiness which earned the title as the world’s hottest pepper.
Where did the hottest pepper in the world come from?
The Carolina Reaper just looks wicked with its gnarly, lumpy pod and a tail that looks like the stinger on a wasp. A mature, fully ripened reaper is bright luscious red. For some, the bright red color screams, “Don’t eat this!” But for pepperheads, it’s an open invitation to consume the hottest pepper in the world. The creator of the Carolina Reaper wanted to develop a pepper containing lots of capsaicinoids. Research indicates capsaicin is beneficial in pharmaceutical products such as creams used to treat arthritis. It is also beneficial for treating cancer and heart disease. As the capsaicin increased, so did the heat! Soon the Carolina Reaper topped the Scoville Heat Unit scale and reigned as the hottest pepper in the world.
What can you do with the hottest pepper in the world?
A lot of people like to have contests to see who, if anybody, can eat the Carolina Reaper. Who can eat the most without puking or giving up because of the intense heat? But they are also a very useful spice. Grind them into powder and sprinkle them on your favorite dishes. Many use them sparingly, especially at first. They can add a lot of spice to any dish and fit well with many cuisines. Even though it is very hot, it has a surprisingly sweet taste as well. It is good in stews, casseroles, or hot sauces. You can make pepper mash to add spice to all kinds of dishes.
Do they really have pepper eating contests?
Yes, they actually have contests to see who can eat the most peppers. In 2014, a hot chili pepper contest was held in New York City at the Hot Sauce Expo. Russel Todd was the winner of the contest because he ate three Carolina Reaper chili peppers in just 12.23 seconds. At the time, that became the new Guinness world record. Later that year, though, Jason McNabb took the crown by eating three peppers in just 10.95 seconds. Earlier in 2016, Wayne Algenio from became the new record holder by eating 22 Carolina Reaper peppers in only 60 seconds.
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