The Habanero pepper has a maximum hotness of 350,000 Scoville Heat Units. That's nothing — like eating an Altoid — compared to the mouth-searing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. It tops out at over two million SHU and has just been named the world's hottest pepper.
As super-hot peppers go, Scoville ratings can vary greatly within a variety depending on the growing conditions — the harsher the environment, the hotter the peppers will be. That's why researchers from New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute, at the behest of the hot sauce industry, developed a new method of determining a variety's average burn.
The team planted 125 plants of the hottest known varieties — the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the Trinidad Scorpion, the 7-pot, the Chocolate 7-pot and the previous world record holder, the Bhut Jolokia. Once ripe, several peppers from each type were harvested, dried and ground to a powder. From that powder, the team extracted capsaicinoids (the compounds that give peppers their heat) and rated them. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion averaged 1.2 million SHU with some individual fruits measuring a face-melting two million-plus SHU.
These peppers are so hot that the team went through multiple sets of gloves during the harvest because the Scorpion's capsaicin, "kept penetrating the latex and soaking into the skin on our hands. That has never happened to me before," said senior research specialist Danise Coon.
It's like the Chuck Norris of peppers, there is no amount of milk that can quench that sort of burning. I think I'd rather eat a real scorpion than try to consume one of these. [AP]