In keeping with my new mystery series, the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries, I thought we'd talk about the hottest pepper in the world.
It's called the Ghost Pepper of Bhut Jokolia. Guiness Book of World Records recognized this pepper as the hottest in 2007. It was measured at more than one million on the Scoville heat index. This is four-hundred times hotter than Tabasco sauce!
It's at least twice as hot as any other pepper you can imagine. Some people say it feels like you put the sun in your mouth! It has a warning on it to proceed with caution!
Usually the pepper is mixed with other foods to try and mitigate some of that heat. My favorite pepper producing shop is Tennessee Gourmet. They use Merlot peppers for color that they mix with the ghost pepper to make their infamous jelly.
"This jelly is for people who like a fire on their tongue!" Tennessee Gourmet says. "This will definitely fire up your foods!"
The jelly is used to enhance ham, chicken, lamb and as a vegetable glaze. You can use it with cream cheese and crackers, but beware!
The term ghost pepper doesn't come from how hot the pepper is (and it could make you a ghost) but rather from the Naga warriors who are known as being ghost warriors. The pepper comes from the same region.
Of course, that was 2007.
In 2011, another pepper came to take the prize as being the world's hottest pepper - Trinidad Moruga Scorpion.
Why would growers keep making peppers hotter?
One reason is for the prestige of saying you have the hottest pepper. The other is because peppers really are used in making pepper spray - the hotter the better.
Just remember - if you eat a pepper that's too hot for you, reach for the milk or ice cream, not soda or water. The milk will cool down the heat. Soda or water makes it worse.
Not something you'd like to have after eating the ghost pepper!
Want more about hot peppers?
Read That Old Flame of Mine
Book one in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries.
Set in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee where they grow the hottest, sweetest pepper in the world, Fire Chief Stella Griffin tackles the bad guys with help from the ghost of the former fire chief.