The Carolina Reaper, a cross between the Habanero and Naga chillies, was confirmed as the world’s hottest chilli in November 2013 with an average heat rating of 1,569,300 SHU. Ed Currie, the chilli grower responsible for the creation of the Carolina Reaper, says his interest in chillies became more serious when he discovered that capsaicin, the chemical that makes chillies ‘hot’, has potential as cancer fighting drug. He donated half of his pepper harvest in 2012 to cancer research. In addition to being viciously hot, the Carolina Reaper has a fruity, sweet taste with a hint of cinnamon and chocolate. We say – use sparingly!
In 2018 Ed Currie cemented his place in the Guinness World records by improving on his previous record with an average heat rating of 1,641,183 SHU. Although this is the average heat produced, scientists have measured heat levels in excess of 2.2million SHU
The Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) scale is a method of quantifying a substance’s ‘spiciness’, through determining the concentration of the chemical compounds responsible for the sensation, which are named capsaicinoids.