There are a lot of people who like hot food. One way to get that hot and spicy food is to use hot peppers. Those peppers have a chemical in them called capsaicin, which is what gives the peppers their heat. When you come in contact with capsaicin, it irritates the tissues it touches, making it feel hot. People have taken advantage of this not just in food; pure capsaicin is found in pepper sprays as well, which is where they get their name.
When it comes to rating peppers and their hotness, you may have a difficulty trying to judge it for yourself. After all, what you find hot may be mild to your best friend. Luckily, there is a way to objectively rate how hot peppers are. It's called the Scoville Scale. The scale rates peppers in Scoville heat units, SHU, according to how much capsaicin the pepper has. The more capsaicin the pepper is, the more SHU it has, and the hotter the pepper is. There is a wide variety in peppers and where they stand on the Scoville Scale
You may know these as bell peppers, green peppers, or just peppers. Whatever name you know them as, they are the low end of the scale. They rate at 0 SHU, meaning they have no heat at all. The different colored varieties, like red and orange, are still sweet peppers and are still at the bottom of the scale.
If you like Mexican food, you have probably had jalapenos. They average between 2,500-1000 SHU. The most commonly seen jalapeno is green, but there are different colored varieties that are in the same SHU range. If you like the taste of the jalapeno, but you want to reduce the heat some, take out the membrane and the seeds inside, since that's where the heat is concentrated. Make sure you wear latex gloves when handling the peppers and wash your hands well.
Ghost peppers come in at the very hot end of the scale. They are between 800,000-1,000,000 SHU and used to be the hottest pepper in the world. They started out in India, and in some very spicy Indian cooking. The trick to using ghost peppers is to remember that a little goes a long way. If you cook with the pepper or ghost chili sauce, use a tiny bit, taste, and then add more as necessary. You can always add more, but you can never take some away.
The Carolina Reaper is currently the hottest chili pepper in the world. It's a mix of ghost peppers and habaneros. This pepper maxes out at 1,250,000 SHU. If you decide to try something with some Carolina Reaper in it, make sure that you keep a big glass of milk with you, since water just moves capsaicin around, while milk washes it away.
If you like spicy food, you are in a large group, many people around the world do. Knowing how to read the Scoville Scale and some different kinds of peppers can help you figure out how hot you want to go. For more information, contact a business such as Hot Sauce Depot.