Archive for Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The hottest pepper in the world

August 25, 2010

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Anyone with a fondness for hot chili peppers should know the Dorset naga.

It was developed by Michael and Joy Michaud, owners of a British mail-order seed company (seaspringseeds.co.uk). They started with a Bangladeshi pepper, the Naga morich, and refined it until they got the Dorset naga, the hottest pepper in the world. Or close to it.

Guinness World Records listed the bhut jolokia pepper as the world’s hottest in 2007 after it registered 1,001,304 Scoville heat units in testing. (A Scoville unit is a measure of the capsaicin — the heat-producing chemical — in a pepper.) The Michauds’ little red beauties were tested at an eye-watering 1.6 million units by the University of Warwick (visit dorsetnaga.com for details).

In comparison, jalapenos come in at 2,500 to 8,000.

What do you do with something that hot?

The Bangladeshis seldom cook with the Naga morich, Joy Michaud said via e-mail. She said that they consume them whole, breaking pieces off as they eat and mixing the pieces with their food.

“Anecdotal evidence also suggests that they rub their plates with the (peppers) before the food is served.”

The Michauds give some of the peppers to a local Indian restaurant for its Dorset Blast curry, she said, and some fans pickle the peppers, which are also sold at the British food chain Tesco.

Then there is the Idiot Factor.

“There are a lot of videos on YouTube of people eating them, so the fruit are used to create some sort of YouTube subcult,” Michaud wrote.

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