Carolina Reaper – Worlds Hottest Chilli Pepper
If you really like to suffer in the name of your art and have no fear (or a functioning intellect) then the Carolina Reaper might be up your street.
What is Carolina Reaper and how does it taste?
Guinness World Records declared this the hottest Chile pepper in the world in 2017, racking up a brain-haemorrhage inducing 2.2 million on the Scoville scale. Bearing in mind the searing habanero has a Scoville rating of around 200k, these absolute bastards are about ten times hotter. This means that they won’t just blow your head off but probably of your intestinal tract and possibly the alveoli on your lungs too. Just to give some context the pepper spray used by law enforcement agencies throughout the world is at a similar level to this frightening fruit. I can personally attest to its intensity as I tried a tiny piece of one in a taco and I have no shame in relating that it was quite a traumatic experience. My stomach felt like it had a dancing shrew in it, and my lungs felt like I had tried to smoke the sun. I spent the rest of the day mainlining yoghurt, bread and limes to try and regulate my body’s temperature.
What is the origin of Carolina Reaper?
They are interspecific hybrid chilies, which in plain English means that are genetically modified to annihilate your mouth, tongue and taste buds (along with your will to live for several days.) They were bred by Ed ‘Smokin’ Currie in his greenhouse in South Carolina, a place known for its friendly neighbours, great peaches and psychotic chilli farmers who want to eradicate the human race via the medium of tacos. It is a member of the nightshade family and is a genetic mix of the Soufriere pepper from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and a Naga Viper pepper from highlands of Pakistan. It acquired the moniker ‘Reaper’ due to its pointed tail (The Carolina bit is fairly self-explanatory). Any affiliation with the grim reaper is, I am assured, purely coincidental.
How to recognize Carolina Reaper?
They are small and red with a wrinkly, gnarly, thick skin and an extremely high capsaicin count giving them their legendary spice level. I found some tasting notes online which stated that they had a gently fruity taste, sweet on the first bite, before turning into molten lava on your tongue.
How is Carolina Reaper grown?
These botanical psychopaths are fairly easy to cultivate and like a temperate of between 18 and 20 °C (64–68 °F) and grow best in pots of around 15-20cm with moderate sunlight exposure.
Carolina Reaper chili peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can help protect the immune system (assuming that you don’t die while consuming them). The high content of Capsaicin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and causes the body to release endorphins to counteract the perceived pain, known as a ‘chili high’. I mean, there has to be some upside.
Culinary uses of Carolina Reaper
In terms of gastronomical uses they are great to flavour chicken, steak and noodles. Use EXTREMELY sparing unless you have a very good lawyer and are comfortable with being charged with an accessory to homicide. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.