May 14, 2007

Hot News!

Philip Ryan

So it seems the Naga Jolokia pepper is the hottest in the world, with a Scoville scale rating of about 1,000,000. (Jalapeños clock in at 2,500 to 8,000, according to Wikipedia, but I bet that doesn't mean the Naga Jolokia is 125 to 400 times as hot as the jalapeño. Numerical scales can be very misleading in this way. Like, when it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit out, does that mean it's "twice as warm" as 40 degrees Fahrenheit?

Although the Kelvin and Centigrade/Celsius scales may be more accurate in this respect... The Scoville scale is named for presumed hot pepper enthusiast Wilbur Scoville, pictured at right.) The various names for the world's hottest pepper, which is found in Bangladesh and Northeastern India, mean something like "poison pepper" or "ghost pepper." Very interesting. I wonder what sort of instruments are needed to test on the Scoville Scale? In other news, the Dalai Lama is considering retirement.

Philip Ryan, Webmaster

UPDATE: From that article about the woman who ate 60 of the world's hottest chile peppers in two minutes... "The Scoville scale, developed by a pharmacist in 1912, is a measure of the ratio of water required to neutralize the pungency of a chili pepper." Pungency in this sense, means spiciness. So that means the naga jolokia is 125 to 400 times hotter than the jalapeño, if Wikipedia's right about the jalapeño's Scoville rating.

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
oliviajane's picture

Naga Jolokia is also called Bih Jolokia in some places of Assam (Bih = Poison, Jolokia = chile pepper; in Assamese). Other names are Bhut Jolokia (probably due to its ghostly bite or introduction by the Bhutias from Bhutan poison chile), Borbih Jolokia, Nagahari, Nagajolokia, Naga Morich, Dorset Naga (from a farm market in the UK), Naga Moresh, Raja Mirchi (the king of chiles) and Ghost Pepper (because after eatin one you "give up the Ghost"). These are all the same chile but named differently in different places (a common problem when trying to identify chile peppers). There often is are slight plant/pod variations in the different geographical locations due to selective harvesting of seeds. Over time this can produce different fruiting characteristics and fruit shape. The Naga name may be due to extreme hotness represented by the aggressive temperament of the warriors of neighboring Naga community.

The real question remaining is why did Dr. Paul Bosland (shown below), Director of the Chile Pepper Institute at the New Mexico State University criticize with great skepticism and not accept the findings of the Indian scientists from DRL in 2000 and Frontal Agritech in 2004? Dr. Bosland had obtained Naga Jolokia seed in 2001 and been growing them for 5 years saying nothing to shed light on the pepper until he submitted his variety for testing and was crowned by Guinness World Records as the hottest in the world and he was the one that "discovered" it.

One thing to keep in mind is that the same pepper grown from the same seed stock can very greatly in Scoville heat units from year to year. This is caused by climate, weather and soil conditions that change each growing season. This is why test results can have a wide range. To some real degree the hottest can come down to how much rain and 90F+ degree weather or lack thereof your crop receive compared to your competitor.
Best wishes,
Olivia Jane, Editor, Paid to click