Nick Federoff's Blog
The Reason Peppers are Hot!
I’m starting to harvest peppers from my garden right now. Never had a pepper with so much Capsaicin before, have you?
Every once in a while I brave munching down on a hot pepper. But what makes a pepper hot? The answer my friend is not blowing in the wind the answer is found in the inside wall of the pepper and its white lining called capsaicin.
Capsaicin is basically tasteless and odorless except for the hot sensation that blasts off in your mouth. The true pepper flavor comes from its outer walls. Peppers vary in their degree of hotness and believe it or not it’s measured in what is known as Scoville heat units.
The pharmacist, Wilbur Scoville, developed the rating system. You’d think the system was a simple one rated from mild, hot to hotter to call the fire department. Instead Scoville units range from 0 for the common bell pepper to 350 thousand units for the Habanero. Cayenne pepper comes in with a hot 20 thousand units and the ever-popular Anaheim chili pepper ranges between a cool 500 to 1000 units.