Worlds Hottest Pepper
Naga Jolokia: The World's Hottest Pepper
The naga jolokia was named the world’s hottest pepper in 2007 by the Guinness Book of World Records. It is estimated that this pepper is around four hundred time hotter than your everyday Tabasco (aka “hot sauce”). The naga jolokia is known by a few different names. You might know it as the “bhut jolokia” or even the “ghost chili.” Whatever you want to call this pepper, it is definitely HOT! The Scoville rating of this spicy little pepper is about 1,041,427 units. To give you a better idea as to what this means, compare it to the jalapeno topping out at 5,000 units. This is just a rough reference to the last calculation. Peppers of the same variety often rate differently in terms of hotness—even if they come from the same plant.
The plant that produces the world’s hottest pepper isn’t as impressive as you might guess. The height of this plant can be anywhere from 17 to 47 inches depending mostly on the environment. The leaves and stalk are green but the peppers are only green while they are immature. When the peppers are ready to be harvested they will be an alluring shade of red and have a knobbly and uneven shape. The average naga jolokia is somewhere around two to three inches in length and about an inch across at the widest point. True, they aren’t a very large pepper, but they certainly do pack a punch!
In cooking, this pepper must be carefully prepared, as even the most accomplished pepper eater may find it difficult to handle! Contrary to uses of bell peppers or banana pepper, the naga jolokia is mostly used as a spice rather than as a food substance itself. This pepper is often used in Indian curry dishes as a means to trigger perspiration, which as we all known helps the body to cool down. The best way to get the most flavor out of the ghost pepper without making a dish too spicy to eat is to slice the pepper open and remove the seeds with a spoon. It would be wise to use gloves while handling the pepper as mere skin contact can lead to irritation and even blind you if enough contact is made with the eye! Roasted, dried, shredded, or powdered—this pepper is sure to put a kick of zest into any dish!
You may be surprised to find that the world’s hottest pepper is also used as an ingredient in hand grenades, smoke bombs, and even pepper spray. The amount of pepper included in these devices is carefully regulated to ensure that they do not cause any long-lasting effects to the victim. These naga jolokia-containing tools are rising in popularity among police forces as a means to subdue mobs or criminals.
Growing Naga Jolokia
This plant is notoriously difficult to grow. It is native to northeastern India so naturally the ideal environment for growing the naga jolokia is a very warm one with plenty of sunlight. This particular chili plant does have some issues with pollination. In some cases, this can be avoided by pollinating the plants manually using a paint brush to pass the pollen from one plant to the other. This plant also tends to be very tempting for a number of insect pests. Plants that are able to produce chilies often end up having them eaten or contaminated by bugs.
For now, the naga jolokia holds the title of the world’s hottest pepper, and it looks as though it will continue to bear this title for many years to come!