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Chili Peppers - What's Hot?

When it comes to chili peppers, some are hotter than others. Can you please provide some guidance? TOH: When it comes to rating chili peppers' heat, looks don't help: It's the seeds and membranes that count. Scoville Heat Units (SHU), named after researcher Wilbur Scoville and used by heat experts, indicate the amount of capsaicin, a potent compound that gives chilies their sizzle. Although the method for determining SHUs relies heavily on subjectivity, the scale is a respectable gauge. Use the following information from chiliworld.com to put the heat into perspective: Sweet bell pepper - 0 Cubanelle pepper - 100-1,000 Texas Pete Hot Sauce, T.W. Garner Food Co. - 747 Anaheim pepper - 500-2,500 Poblano pepper - 1,000-2,000 Jalapeno pepper - 2,500-5,000 Chipotle pepper (a smoked jalapeno) - 5,000-10,000 Serrano pepper - 6,000-23,000 Tabasco brand Habanero Sauce, McIlhenny Co. - 7,000-8,000 Cayenne pepper - 30,000-50,000 Habanero pepper - 100,000-350,000

Up to 80 percent of the fiery factor in peppers - capsaicin - is found in the seeds and membranes of peppers, so the only way to reduce the heat of a hot chili is to remove the seeds and veins. But keep in mind that a little burn is not without benefits. Capsaisin is known for its decongestant qualities; it also causes the brain to produce endorphins, which contribute to feelings of well-being, according to The Food Lover's Companion.

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