Peppers from the Capsicum species, grow in different shapes, sizes, color, flavor, and level of heat. Upon the discovery of the New World came the introduction of peppers by the Portugese to different parts of the world. It scattered like wildfire and became an essential part in the culture of countries from Asia, India, Africa, and the US. Some peppers such as the bell peppers are sweet, while others like the Jalapenos are quite hot and spicy. People constantly cultivated different varieties and produced some of the hottest peppers in the world.
So if you think you have already tested and tasted the hottest peppers in your area, well you haven’t tried the world champions. They pack one hell of a punch in every bite. You think you have what it takes to munch down the meanest peppers ever cultivated? Then check out the top 5 hottest peppers in the world to date. They are ranked based on their SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) values.
1. CAROLINA REAPER
SHU = 2,200,000
The Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world to date. This pepper which is also known as HP22B, was developed and cultivated by Ed Currie in South Carolina. It was created by crossing a Red Habanero and a Pakistani Naga. The plant itself grows to about 4 feet tall. The pepper packs quite punch but also has a fruity and sweet flavor pretty much similar to the 7 Pot Chili. The pods are about 2 inches wide and 3 inches long. The skin is bumpy and wrinkled, and it turns a vibrant red color once it matures. The characteristic feature of the Carolina Pepper is its scorpion like tail at the base.
The Carolina Pepper was initially tested at the Winthrop University and resulted in a Scoville score of about 2.2 Million. It is 880 times hotter than a jalapeno and twice as hot as a ghost pepper. It has various uses such as hot sauce, pepper flakes or powder, pepper jelly, and can be served fresh or frozen. Use sparingly, as just a tiny bit can already knock you out.
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2. TRINIDAD MORUGA SCORPION
SHU = 2,009,231
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is a very rare and was only recently developed. It originated from the Trinidad and Tobago region. The thing about this pepper is that it’s not a one-time big time punch, but the heat gradually builds up. This pepper is said to be a non-hybrid stable variety. The volume of capsaicin it contains can even burn through four pairs of gloves. The pods have the same shape as the habanero, but have a bumpy texture. The green pods turn red or red-orange in color once matured. They were initially the world record holders before the Carolina Reaper took the throne.
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3. 7 POT DOUGLAH
SHU = 1,853,936
If you think all the hottest peppers should be red, then think again. The 7 Pot Douglah has a characteristic brown color, but can burn the house down with its extreme heat. This bad boy originated from the Trinidad region. The pods are habanero shaped, with chocolate skin when mature and are covered with pimples. It is five time hotter than a habanero, and 232 times hotter than a jalapeno. The 7 Pot Douglah has a sweet yet nutty and a bit earthy flavor. It is commonly used either fresh or as a powder. People love adding them to sauces, soups and even on salsas.
4. 7 POT PRIMO
SHU = 1,469,000
The 7 Pot Primo was developed by Troy Primeaux, a horticulturist from Louisiana. This pepper was produced by crossing the Trinidad Pot 7 seeds and the Naga Morich, and was able to have a stable variety after 8 generations. The pepper has a pimply and bumpy surface, with a characteristic scorpion like tail at the end. It often has a deformed shape unlike the other peppers. Once mature, it turns to a bright red in color, but other varieties have yellow or orange colors. This mean pepper is not only hot, but has a distinct fruity sweet flavor which melds perfectly with the spicy taste.
5. TRINIDAD SCORPION ‘BUTCH T’
SHU = 1,463,700
The Scorpion Butch T was previously 2011’s hottest in the world before it was dethroned by the Moruga Scorpion. It is another variety of the Trinidad Scorpion and is being cultivated in the US, Trinidad, and Australia. It was native to the Trinidad and Tobago region before Butch Taylor started cultivating it in the US in 2011. Its parents are a well-kept secret of Taylor and haven’t been discovered to this day. The pods have a button mushroom-like shape, bumpy texture, and a small scorpion-like tip. It turns a bright rich red color when mature. The Butch T is 226 times hotter than a jalapeno, quite mean pepper whose heat continues to build up as you munch it.
There are still quite a number of varieties which you can try, if you wish to have a taste of the hot side. Peppers can definitely give that extra kick in your dishes, just make sure you can handle these bad boys. Use them sparingly, as a pinch goes a long way.