Cooking with chilies can be like playing roulette, here is guide to different peppers and sauces.

chillies

Bear in mind, for any given variety chilli strength can vary – so you might find some uncommonly mild, others surprisingly hot. Equally, Scoville ratings are based on the findings of panel of tasters. The score is calculated by diluting a sample with sugar, until the heat is only just detectable. If no heat is present, then no dilution is necessary – a score of 0 – whereas a score of 30,000 means it would need to be diluted 30,000 times before being imperceptible! The Caroline Reaper is currently Guinness world record holder as the hottest chili.

Scoville

This is a simplified version – including more common varieties. You can find a more complete list here.

Too hot?

If you do eat food that is too hot, then you might like to know the active ingredient in chilli peppers – capsaicin – dissolves in fats, alcohols, and acidic solutions – but not water.

So if you mouth is burning:

  1. reach for something containing oil, such as milk or yogurt,
  2. suck on a slice of lemon, or similarly acidic food,
  3. or a shot of something with a high alcohol content. Maybe. Probably.
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