Friday, February 23, 2007

The New World's Hottest Chile

I need some of these for my next batch of chillyie (see comments) sauce.
The Guinness Book of Records confirmed that New Mexico State University Regent’s Professor Paul Bosland had indeed discovered the world’s hottest chile pepper, Bhut Jolokia.

Bhut Jolokia, at 1,001,304 Scoville Heat Units (SHU), is nearly twice as hot as Red Savina, the chile pepper variety it replaces as the world’s hottest. A New Mexico green chile contains about 1,500 SHUs and an average jalapeno measures at about 10,000 SHUs.

“The name Bhut Jolokia translates as ‘ghost chile,’” Bosland said, “we’re not sure why they call it that, but I think it’s because the chile is so hot, you give up the ghost when you eat it!”

According to Bosland, Bhut Jolokia is a naturally occurring inter-specific hybrid indigenous to the Assam region of northeastern India. A member of NMSU’s Chile Pepper Institute visiting India sent Bhut Jolokia seeds back to NMSU for testing in 2001.

“The plant doesn’t set fruit very well, so it took a couple of years to get enough for field testing,” Bosland said.

Bosland then grew Bhut Jolokia, Red Savina, and habanero peppers under controlled settings. Bhut Jolokia exhibited significantly higher SHUs, as much as triple the amount, and these findings were confirmed by two independent laboratories.

Bosland reported that the variety has compelling potential in the packaged food industry as a food additive. The pepper could be pickled while still green, dehydrated and used as a seasoning. Because the heat is so concentrated, less would be needed and food manufacturers would save money.

“This isn’t something you’d pickle whole and eat,” Bosland said, “but it could replace dehydrated jalapeno as an additive.”

Bhut Jolokia is not NMSU’s first brush with chile greatness; the record-holder for world’s largest chile pepper is a specimen of the ‘NuMex Big Jim’ variety. The record-holder was grown near Hatch, but the variety was developed at NMSU.

From the New Mexico State University's website.


Anonymous said...

Since when do you spell CHILLI Chile? I know that Santiago is hot this time of year, but this is ridiculous.

Nick x

Anonymous said...

The link below is probably the best chile pepper site in the world and they adopt the Ameican spelling of Chile also