I’m not much of a morning person; I’m usually at work or fast asleep while the AM talk shows are on. Much to my chagrin, I was up early for a flight this past Saturday and found myself watching CBS This Morning. Just before the show went to commercials each time they promoted a segment about the World’s Hottest Pepper. I decided to stick it out through several weather forecasts and a few less-than-interesting segments to see what the story was with this pepper which the promo spots claimed was so hot that it could be used as a weapon.
A man named Ed Currie from South Carolina created Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper Pepper (yes, as in the Grim Reaper, it’s a death-pepper). Using a cross-breeding technique from India Currie has created a pepper that, at 1.6 million on the Scoville Heat Unit Scale, is 300x hotter than the average jalapeño. If this all sounds very technical for something as seemingly simple as taste, it is.
Currie explained that scientists used something called HPLC (check out a straight-forward explanation of the system here) to measure just how hot a pepper is. I personally kept picturing a cartoon wolf eating one followed by smoke coming out of his ears, fire coming out of his mouth, and the wolf running in circles before jumping into a conveniently located barrel of water to cool himself off (clearly I watched a lot of cartoons in my day).
Currie, who is obviously desensitized to the heat of his product as this point, simply bit into the bright red pepper without a wince. He describes the flavor as sweet and “awesomely floral” before you start to feel the heat and then “it’s an uphill battle for about 20 minutes.” Other taste-testers reportedly suffer from runny noses, cry, or “reject the pepper” as Currie eloquently put it. The anchors reporting on the segment played it safe by trying a mustard made from the pepper which Ed says is the hottest mustard on the market.
It’s funny because when the short segment started I was thinking, “why on earth would anyone try this?” but by the end I found myself thinking I’d like to try the dipping jelly. You can buy Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper Peppers and pepper products online at the website, just make sure you read their product disclaimer first. While the CBS anchors never did clarify what they meant about using the pepper as a weapon, I think Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper Pepper products may come in handy during allergy season in the battle against my sinuses.
Are you intrigued to try the death pepper?