How hot or spicy is a particular chili pepper? Have you ever wanted to know that before you used it in your favorite recipe? Well, there is a means of quantifying the amount of spicy heat of a chili pepper. This scale of measurement is know as the Scoville scale or Scoville rating.
How does it work?
The spicy heat of a chili pepper is a result of the presence of capsaicin. Capsaicin in the chili pepper stimulates nerve endings in the mucous membranes (mouth, nose) which gives us the sensation of spice. In larger concentrations, it can also cause sensation on the skin.
The capsaicin organoleptic test measures the spiciness of the pepper by manually tasting a diluted solution containing extracts of the pepper in question.
Who invented this scale?
Wilbur Scoville, an American chemist, was responsible for the creation of the Scoville scale from his work at Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company on the hotness of various chili peppers. Since its creation in 1912, the Scoville scale is still a popular means of measuring hotness.
Why is there a large range on the scale for various chili peppers?
Like any other plant, chili peppers plants are affected by variation in soil, climate (temperature, humidity, rainfall etC)and seed-lineage. Hence, the hotness of a chili pepper grown in Mexico will be different from that of a pepper grown in say Arizona. However, good gardening practices can help retain the natural heat of the pepper.
Scoville Ratings of various peppers
|Pepper||Scoville Rating||Pepper||Scoville Rating|
|Pepperoncini||100 – 500||Hungarian Wax||5,000 – 10,000|
|Hungarian Paprika||100 – 500||Thai-Kung Pao||7,000 – 12,000|
|Sonora Pepper||300 – 600||Ancho Gigantea Pepper||1,000 – 15,000|
|New Mexico 6 Pepper||500 – 1,000||Serrano||6,000 – 23,000|
|NuMex Twilight Pepper||900 – 1,000||Serrano Tampiqueno Pepper||6,000 – 23,000|
|Aji Dulce||800 – 1,200||Royal Black pepper||5,000 – 30,000|
|Ancho Pepper||1,000 – 2,000||Yellow Peter Pepper||5,000 – 30,000|
|Poblano||1,000 – 2,000||Chile De Arbol Pepper||15,000 – 30,000|
|Numex Espanola Pepper||1,000 – 2,000||Tabasco||30,000 – 50,000|
|Pasilla Bajio Pepper||1,000 – 2,000||Long Red Slim Cayenne||30,000 – 50,000|
|Anaheim||500 – 2,500||Santaka Pepper||40,000 – 50,000|
|Numex-Big Jim||500 – 2,500||Fish Pepper||45,000 – 75,000|
|Garden Salsa||2000 – 4,500||Tepin Pepper||50,000 -100,000|
|Jalapeno||2,500 – 5,000||Jamaican Yellow Pepper||100,000 – 200,000|
|Mirasol Pepper||2,500 – 5,000||Habanero||100,000 – 350,000|
|Red Cherry Bomb||2,500 – 5,000||Carribean Red||400,000 – 460,000|
|Chimayo Pepper||4,000 – 6,000||Jamaican Hot Chocolate||300,000 – 500,000|
|Black Hungarian Pepper||5,000 – 10,000|
We have all these peppers available at the Sweet Corn Organic Nursery store. If you have any questions about growing and harvesting peppers, we’d love to lend a helping hand.
Oh! and go easy on some of the spicy ones, they can be hotter than expected :)!