Welcome to the wondrous world of Hot Peppers and their by-products
I am frequently asked what the SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) means at the top of each of the five reviews of the hottest peppers in this website and I thought you would also like to know the answer because their relevance is quite significant if and when you should decide to purchase.
The figures are simply the hotness of the pepper and can range from anything between 1.000.000 and over 2,000,000. In those we have selected, the highest is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion with a recently achieved world record of 2,009,237 and the lowest the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Peppers) at 1,044,427. There is no question that these fresh raw peppers are extremely hot, but to put things into perspective, one of the by products, Tabasco sauce for example, has between 2500/5500 scovilles.
The reason they are so hot is that they contain a chemical called capsaicin, which creates a burning sensation when in contact with skin and nasal membranes. But incidentally, the red, green and yellow bell peppers we find in the grocers contain no capsaicin and are cool and sweet as we all know and enjoy.
And, naturally I suppose, it is because they are so hot that many people assume that they are not good for one’s health, but it is quite the opposite and in fact the peppers have many, many benefits. Amongst which the The University of Maryland Medical Center in the United States lists that they…. lessen the pain of osteoarthritis, decrease the inflammation of psoriasis, relieve headaches, colds and flu symptoms, toothache, after effects of surgery and surprisingly even ulcers where they have been shown to protect the lining of the stomach.
So when aficionados who love the heat stock up on hot peppers and by-products it is good for them to know they help in keeping them fit and well.
But although hot peppers have their health benefits, they are still very hot so be sure to take your time when eating them and have plenty of milk on hand which is an excellent anti-burn remedy… and anyone who has touched their eyes or face after handling peppers with a high capcaicin, are very unlikely to do so again so take care! In fact, in case you wondered, capcaicin is a key ingredient used in the pepper spray the police use for crowd control!
Clearly, hot peppers and their products have an awful lot going for them so sit back, browse leisurely through the website and if you are interested in learning more, enjoy reading the reviews and selecting from the many products and books from the shops.