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What is the Scoville rating?

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 :)!