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Fire in the hole!

June 11, 2012

Out on my deck there are four jalapeno plants getting down with their bad selves.  They like the heat and humidity.  Give ’em a little dirt and water and a sunny spot, and they respond prolifically.

People who don’t dig spicy food usually think jalapenos are intolerable and don’t know why anyone would torment themselves with them.  But few go to waste here in the Sparky household.  We consider them hot, but not necessarily scorching, though occasionally a scorcher will indeed pop up.  The amount of heat in a jalapeno varies from pepper to pepper.  You really don’t know exactly what you’re going to get until it’s too late to do anything about it.  And since I’m a chile head, I never remove the seeds or membranes, which are the hottest parts.  I yearn for the burn.

There is actually a scale for rating the amount of heat in a chile pepper.  It is called the Scoville scale.  The heat is caused by a substance called capsaicin, and the more capsaicin a pepper has, the more Scoville units it has.  A jalapeno usually has 2500-5000 Scoville units.  Tabasco sauce has 7000-8000 Scoville units.  Habeneros, a favorite scorcher in the chile world, have 100,000-350,000.  That’s a very hot pepper by any standard.

But then enter these babies:

Bhut Jokia, also known as the Ghost Chile Pepper.

Yes, that photo is from my back yard.  Those are the infamous Ghost Peppers, growing on a plant given to me by my enabler friend Lana on the occasion of International Lisa Day, which was back in January.  They grow slowly, and in fact, one of the plants hasn’t set fruit at all.  But this one decided to be prolific.  And by prolific, I mean maybe 7-8 peppers.

Ghost chiles, which have a more formal name of bhut jokia, originate in India where they make chemical weapons out of them.  I’m not joking.  They really do.  These little incendiary devices show up on the scale at over 1,000,000 Scoville units.  That’s right– one million.  There is no way around it.  That is hot.  Hot enough that even I am a little skeered of them!

I do intend to try them, though.  I’m just not sure what to do with them.  I can guarantee you that every bit of seeds and membranes will be removed with gloved hands.  I may even see if Mr. Sparky has some safety glasses for the process.  But how they will be used remains to be seen.

I am quite sure the Sparky Nation will be the first to know, so stay tuned!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurie Wade permalink
    June 12, 2012 12:01 am

    I bet we get to hear about those for a couple of days when you finally partake. Hope it doesn’t bring you to tears like that other stuff you ate. Wonder if you could grind those babies up and sprinkle them on your chex mix?

    • June 12, 2012 12:07 am

      These ARE the other stuff I ate. This is what made that sauce so hot.

  2. June 12, 2012 7:44 am

    I would handle them outside and I say you make a concentrate of them and give those skwirls something to talk about!! Bet your tomatoes would be safe once they got a taste of that pepper!! I think I need one of those to cook in my Thai curry!

  3. June 12, 2012 6:40 pm

    I grew Habeneros one year and never grew the prolific little peppers again! A little went a very long way. However, Jalapenos and Cayenne I stuck with. Your Ghost Chili sounds pretty cool…but I’m with you…..skeered of ’em!

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