What Is The Carolina Reaper Pepper and Why Is It So Hot?
This pepper is too hot to handle.
The Carolina Reaper pepper became an Internet obsession when the #OneChipChallenge went viral. Everyone from average people to athletes and celebrities tried to stomach just one tortilla chip dusted with a flavoring powder that included the dried Reaper pepper. Eating one chip sounds easy enough, until you experience exactly what it means to have a taste of the world’s hottest pepper to date in your mouth.
The challenge has simmered down, but the pepper recently resurfaced on the news circuit after the BMJ Case Reports published a report on a man who consumed the Carolina Reaper during a chili pepper eating contest and suffered an excruciating effect known as a “thunderclap headache.” This severe and abrupt headache is debilitatingly painful and reaches maximum severity within minutes. The man also suffered from dry heaving and was rushed to the hospital immediately.
The Carolina Reaper pepper is alluring to adventure junkies and hot pepper enthusiasts because it holds the Guinness World Record as being the hottest pepper in the world, with an average of 1.5 million Scoville Heat Units per pepper. To put this level of heat into perspective, a jalapeno is merely 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, while a Scotch Bonnet pepper rates around 100,000 to 350,000 SHU—which basically means that the Carolina Reaper is hot as hell.
The Carolina Reaper Pepper does not exist by design of Mother Nature. Rather, it was engineered and cultivated by Ed Currie of the Pucker Butt Pepper Company. Currie has been a pepper grower for over 20 years and spent 10 year developing this deadly-hot pepper, which is a cross between Sweet Habanero and Naga Viper chillies. Not only is it hot, but the pepper is also quite peculiar looking. The skin is wrinkly and the tip of the pepper resembles the Grim Reaper's scythe (thus, the name).
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that anyone consume this pepper for fun, but one can purchase the seeds or the dried pepper straight from Currie’s company. You can also purchase the pepper as a puree, hot sauce, and powder. I honestly can't imagine sprinkling this powder on anything that I would make or consume, but to each his own.