Update: Thank you to the commenter who correctly points out that there is a hotter chili pepper out there. The Naga Viper chili measured 1,349,000 Scoville units in laboratory tests. This record is unofficial though. That pepper has not been submitted for official certification for any record.
A mild-mannered British man has "accidentally" created the world's hottest chili pepper by cross-breeding peppers. After scientists tested the pepper in a laboratory, they discovered it measured 1,176,182 on the Scoville Scale. Cayenne pepper, by comparison, measures between 30,000 and 50,000 on that scale. The previous record holder, the Bhut Jolokia comes in at just over 800,000.
Nick Woods created the unbelievably spicy chili by accident. He started a company called Fire Foods and began growing supremely hot chili peppers. Technically fruits and not plants, chilis get their heat from a compound called capsaicin. Beyond the agony that would come from ingesting one of these chilis, medical experts report there are no longer term negative side effects from eating them.
In terms of what one person would face after eating one of these fruits... the creator described eating one for a local TV crew at 1 p.m. and remaining in total agony at 5 p.m. when the pepper arrived in his stomach. To treat his symptoms, Woods consumed dairy products (much better than water) like ice cream, yogurt and milk. He does not recommend eating one whole. Simply touching the pepper without gloves could cause significant discomfort to one's skin. Even the tiniest amount of one could provide enough spice for a curry dish.
Woods has turned his record-setting pepper into a hot sauce. For some of his Infinity Hot Sauce, click here.
Check out this video to see an interview with the pepper's inventor, Nick Woods:
And if you'd like to witness one crazy man punish himself by eating a brutally hot pepper, watch this:
Hungry for something hot? Try the delicious recipe below using chili peppers!
Photo by Flickr user p22earl
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