Scorpion pepper hottest on planet
NMSU’s Chile Pepper Institute names hottest pepper
Updated: Monday, 13 Feb 2012, 6:14 PM MST
Published : Monday, 13 Feb 2012, 6:14 PM MST
LAS CRUCES, NM - When it comes to bringing the heat, there's a new king of the hill. According to a first-of-its-kind scientific study on "super-hot" chile varieties, New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute has identified the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as the new hottest pepper on the planet.
"For this study, we wanted to establish the average heat levels for super-hot varieties. That's something that hadn't been scientifically set," said Paul Bosland, an NMSU Regents Professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute. "We also wanted to see which chile pepper truly has the highest heat levels."
For the study, Bosland and his partners Danise Coon, a senior research specialist, and Gregory Reeves, a graduate student, looked at several chile breeds reputed to be among the hottest in the world, including Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Trinidad Scorpion, 7-pot, Chocolate 7-pot and Bhut Jolokia - a previous world record holder identified by the Chile Pepper Institute and certified by Guinness World Records in 2007.
Each of the super-hot varieties was grown in an NMSU plant science research field, following standard agricultural practices for chile peppers grown in Southern New Mexico. Later, randomly selected, mature fruits from several plants within each variety were selected, harvested, dried and ground to powder. The capsaicinoids, or the compounds that produce heat sensation, were then extracted and examined.
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion scored highest, overall, in mean heat with more than 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units. Chocolate 7-pot came in at almost 1.17 million SHU. 7-pot placed third with more than 1.06 million SHU. Trinidad Scorpion packed almost 1.03 million SHU and Bhut Jolokia had almost 1.02 million SHU.
Chile peppers of the same variety will often vary in heat, even when grown in the same field or picked from the same plant. This study saw similar results, with some individual plants scoring much higher than the mean heat levels. Two individual Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper plants registered more than 2 million SHU - almost twice as hot as an average Bhut Jolokia pepper.
"Part of the reason we conducted this research is that rigorous scientific testing is required to ensure accurate determination of super hot heat levels," Coon said. "The Chile Pepper Institute, as the leading authority on chile peppers, was a logical place for this research to be conducted."
The chile industry is already taking notice of Bosland's study. Over the past few years, CaJohns Fiery Foods has worked with NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute to create products with super-hot chile varieties. The company has Holy Jolokia hot sauce, salsa and barbecue sauce available which are made from the Bhut Jolokia pepper. The company's latest creation is Sancto Scorpio hot sauce, made from the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper.
Peppers (Capsicum spp.) exhibit a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and tastes. The term "pepper" should not be confused with "black pepper" (Piper nigrum), which is produced from the dried, unripe fruit of a vine grown in India and Ceylon. Peppers can generally be classified into two groups: mild- or sweet-tasting fruit (bell, pimento, sweet wax types) and fruit with hot or pungent flesh (long green and jalape?o types). In New Mexico, the latter are often referred to as "chile."
Direct seed peppers at about the average date of the last killing frost, or transplant them into the garden after danger of frost. There are several methods of direct seeding peppers. Many New Mexicans use the hill method, placing several seeds in hills spaced about 12 in. apart in a row. When seedlings appear, thin all but two or three of the stronger plants. Rather than thinning completely, allow some plants to continue developing for later transplanting to bare places where no seedlings sprouted.
As an alternative to the hill method, gardeners may choose to sow seeds in rows. Sow seeds about 1 in. apart in a straight row near the edge of the furrow. When the plants develop four or more true leaves, thin to one plant every 12-24 in. To get a head start on pepper production, many gardeners raise or buy transplants to set in the garden after danger of frost.
Provide peppers with an even moisture supply, but take care not to overwater. Chile wilt (phytophthora root rot) can be a major problem under wet conditions. On the other hand, insufficient water may lead to blossom-end rot.
California Wonder 72-75 Smooth, blocky, 3-4 lobes, 4-by-4 inch pods; pods thick, glossy green to red.
Crispy Hybrid 70 Blocky, thick walls, 3-4 lobes, 3-by-3.5 inch pods; good yields.
Gypsy Hybrid 62 All-American winner; early, prolific, sweet, tasty, well-shaped pods; pods with 3 lobes, 3-4 inches long; orange-red fruit when mature.
Hybrid Bell Boy 70 Early, tasty, large, meaty pods, 4 lobes, 4.5-inches long; good yields.
Yolowonder B, Improved 75 Well-shaped, thick walls, blocky, 4 lobes; good yields.
Pepper, Chile (pungent):
Anaheim 77-80 Pods 6-8 inches long, tapered, medium thick; pungent, deep green turning red at maturity.
Española Imp. 70 Pods 5-6 inches long, wide shoulder, smooth, tapering; green to red chile; relatively pungent.
New Mexico 6-4 74-76 Pods 6-7 inches long, smooth skin, blunt point; green to red color; mild pungency.
NuMex Big Jim 75 Big, mildly hot, 10-inch pods; fruit long and slender, red when fully mature.
NuMex Joe E. Parker 70 Uniform 6- to 8-inch pods; bright green to red fruit; flesh thick and crispy with mild heat.
NuMex R Naky 75 Pods 6-7 inches long, round shoulder, tapered; green to red color; very mild in flavor.
Sandia 77-80 Pods 6 inches long, round shouldered, straight; green to red color; pungent; medium thick flesh.
Pepper, Chile (jalapeño)
Giant Jalapeño 65 Heavy yields; large, 4-inch, medium green, slightly tapered, blunt fruit; thick flesh; medium hot; early.
Jalapeño 75 Dark green, 3-inch pods with rounded tips; medium hot; thick walled.
Jalapeño M 73 Pungent, 3.5-inch fruit; sausage-shaped, blunt ends, thick-walled; dark green.
TAM Mild Jalapeño 75 Mild, moderately thick flesh; deep green pods with blunt ends; pods 3.5 inches long.
A nutcase scientist in Texas has been breeding jalapenos to lose their heat. I don’t understand this; I mean who needs a little green pepper? Unfortunately this scientist has been somewhat successful. So now when I go to the supermarket I buy twice as many chiles as the recipe calls for. I cut one open and taste a little bit to see if it is kicking. If it has no heat I go to the next pepper, if it has some but not a lot of heat I will throw some of its seeds and ribs into the recipe as well (most of the heat in a chile is in the seed pod, seeds, and ribs).