Just How Hot is Your Hot Pepper? Check the Scoville Scale

We all know that some peppers are hotter than others, but I was surprised to find out there is actually a scientific measurement that describes the hotness of peppers.

It’s called the Scoville scale and it measures the amount of capsaicin, the chemical that causes the reaction in our skin and mucous membranes. Peppers are rated in units called Scoville heat units (SHU), which indicate the amount of capsaicin in parts per million.

A bell pepper, for example, has a Scoville rating of zero. Jalapenos rate at 2,500 to 5,000, while cayenne pepper weighs in at 30,000 to 50,000, Jamaican hot peppers rate 100,000 to 250,000, and habaneros are 100,000 to 300,000.

And pure capsaicin? It has a Scoville score of 16 million. According to a note on the Web site above, one drop of pure capsaicin “is so hot that a single drop diluted in 100,000 drops of water will produce a blistering of the tongue.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *