DATELINE ALBUQUERQUE: This wrinkled up agitated looking dingle-berry from nuestra isla de Trinidad has just been certified by scholars at the New Mexico State University Chile Pepper Institute (en serio… existe) as being the hottest chili pepper… IN …THE …WORLD!
Hecho en las Américas, El Alacrán Moruga beat out competitors from across the globe including the infamous 7-Pot, its evil cousin the Chocolate 7-Pot, the Indian Ghost aka the Bhut Jolokiahe (or in Sri Lanka, the Cobra Chili), and of course the infamous Red Savina. How did the Scorpion pull this off? By packing heat to the tune of 2,000,000 SHUs…! Let’s pause for un momentito and put that in context. An SHU is a Scoville Heat Unit – a measurement derived from liquid chromatography to determine a pepper’s capsaicin content. The SHU was developed by the eponymous turn of the century Connecticut pharmacist Wilbur Scoville who even back in 1912 had the culinary savvy to know that the only good machaca is spicy machaca.
Capsaicin is the organic compound in chili peppers that makes your nose run, your eyes water, your mouth burn, and your pooper sting. But does 2 million SHU really mean anything? Hell yes it does. A jalapeño clocks in at a wussy 5,000 SHU. And a habanero? Only 200,000. That means the moruga is 10 times as hot as a habanero. At the Chile Pepper Institute, the capsaicin in the Moruga Scorpion is known to actually eat through the technicians’ latex gloves if they hold on to it too long. ¡Díos mío! Ni quiero imaginar what it would do to my lower intestine.
Bravo Trinidad Moruga Scorpion for bringing the World Title back to the Américas!
For more, see the blog post in the LA Times: World’s hottest chile pepper: The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion! – latimes.com.