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Sweet and Spicy

Mexican restaurant ElizabethtonChili peppers are cultivated around the world and come in a wide variety of colors, flavors and spice. From tongue torching hot to sweet and crisp, peppers are nutrient rich vegetables. Varieties of these small, bright pods can really pack the heat. The spicy of the chili pepper is measured on the Scoville scale, with 0 SHU being flame free to 16,000,000 being pure capsaicin.

Check out our list of the hottest and most popular varieties:

Carolina Reaper
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world. Measuring in at 1,569,300 SHU this pepper is a cross breed of the Pakistani Naga and the Red Habanero. This South Carolina native was created exclusively for its spicy heat, yet has a sweet somewhat fruity flavor.

Ghost Peppers
This Indian transplants heat sneaks up on you after your first bite. It was not until 2000 that this pepper made its way to the U.S. market. The Ghost Pepper is twice as hot as the Habanero and is most commonly used in wing sauces. In 2007 it was named as the Guinness Book of World Records hottest chili pepper with 1,041,427 SHU.


This former king of the pepper world comes the Yucatan Peninsula. Measuring in at 500,000 SHU this chili pepper comes in many colors and varieties. This may not be the spiciest peppers grown, but it is the hottest pepper that is commercially grown. The habaneros fruity, citrus heat makes it a popular ingredient in many hot sauces.

The Jalapeno or Chipotle is the best known pepper in the United States. This versatile ingredient can be prepared many different ways and be found in a multitude of different dishes. The Jalapeno is named after Jalapa, the capital of Veracruz, Mexico, where it originated. The skin of the Jalapeno has a similar flavor to that of the Bell Pepper and the heat is found in the seeds. It measures between 2,500- 10,000 SHU.

Poblano Peppers
This thick skinned, green pepper is a milder variety of the chili pepper. Named after its origin in central Mexico, the Poblano is a common ingredient in many Mexican and Southwestern dishes. The Ancho Chili or Poblano pepper registers between 1,000- 2,000 SHU on the Scoville scale.

Bell Peppers
While this variety comes in a 0 on the Scoville scale is packed full of nutrients. While it doesn’t contain any capsaicin or spice, it is a good source of carotenoids and over 30 other essential nutrients. This fruit originated in Mexico and was named by Christopher Columbus. The Bell pepper is the one of the easiest peppers to grow and is found in many gardens throughout the United States.

Written by Tiffany Hutton

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