Sunday, December 2, 2012

Peppers and the Scoville Scale

There were many varieties of peppers in my garden this year.  They need a lot of sunshine and heat so the majority of my crop came to fruition at the end of summer.  I dehydrated most of the late season crop so that I could use them in winter soups, stews and chili.  
The Scoville Scale rates the hotness of a food, with zero Scoville units indicating there is no spiciness or heat, while the top of the scale,16 million is pure capsaicin.  According to the Scoville Scale for Peppers, " while certain breeds of hot pepper have been known to fall within a certain range, depending on the conditions where it was grown, it may be hotter or sweeter than rated." 
Here are a few peppers and their Scoville ratings:
    Scoville Units                  Pepper Variety
    5,300,000                       Police Grade Pepper Spray
    2,000,000                       Common Pepper Spray
    100,000-350,000            Habanero
    100,000-325,000            Scotch Bonnet
    30,000-50,000                Cayenne & Tobasco
    5,000-23,000                  Serrano
    2,500-8,000                    Jalapeno
    500-2,500                       Anaheim
    0                                      Red

This past summer was the first time I planted the Burning Bush Habanero.  It is a very good producer and when ripe, the peppers are a lovely peach orange color.  This pepper carries 180,000 Scoville units.
Big Jim peppers cooling on the dehydrator tray.

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