Several fresh, red chillies kept in a strainer

Scoville Scale- Measure The Hotness Of Chilies

In our day-to-day life, we all use chilies or peppers in our food to make it spicy and tasty. But have you ever wondered how hot the chilies are? So, in this article, we are going to discuss the Scoville Scale, which helps in the measurement of the hotness of the chilies.

A Brief Idea About Scoville Scale

The Scoville scale was introduced by Wilbur L. Scoville, who invented the Scoville Organoleptic Test in 1912. He was endeavoring to find a suitable pepper to utilize in a heat-producing ointment. 

The scale helps to measure the amount of capsaicin, which is a chemical compound present in the pepper and this helps the pepper to give its spicy or tangy heat.

While you eat pepper, capsaicin is the reason to make your tongue burn, earache, and body sweat. The capsaicin is present mostly in the ribs and the seeds of the pepper. 

Plants such as resin spurge, which is a cactus-like plant, produce chemicals called resiniferatoxin, grown in Morocco. This is a thousand times hotter and spicy than the pure capsaicin measured in the Scoville scale.

The scale which helps to measure the hotness is the Scoville Heat Units.

The SHU of the pepper can change according to the humidity, the type of soil, and other factors. So, a process called high-performance liquid chromatography can determine the accurate concentration of capsaicin. 

What Are Scoville Heat Units (SHU)?

The Scoville Heat Units or SHU is the measurement of the number of times capsaicin needs to be diluted by the sugar water. 

The number of SHU in pepper or a hot sauce implies the capsaicin amount present. 

The higher is the SHU the hotter the pepper is. 

How To Determine The SHU?

For determining the SHU, alcohol extract from the capsaicin oil from a dried pepper is mixed with a solution of sugar and water up to the point where the panel of human taste testers can not detect the heat of the pepper. 

The SHU of the pepper is measured with the dilution required for the burn which can no longer be sensed.

Therefore, if a chili rate is 6000 SHU, then the oil obtained from the extracted and should be diluted 6000 times before the heat is barely detectable. 

The Rank Of Peppers On The Scoville Scale

  1. Carolina Reaper Pepper- 2.2 million SHU
  2. Naga Viper Pepper- 1.3 million SHU
  3. Ghost Pepper– 1 million SHU
  4. Red Savino Pepper- 500000 SHU
  5. Habanero Pepper and Scotch Bonnet Pepper- 350000-1000000 SHU
  6. Cayenne Pepper- 50000-30000 SHU
  7. Serrano Pepper- 23000-6000 SHU
  8. Chipotle Pepper- 10000-5000 SHU
  9. Jalape├▒o Pepper- 5000-2500 SHU
  10. Bell Pepper- 0 SHU
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