Chilli Pepper - The Mildest to the Hottest Chilli

Author: Michelle Scott   Date Posted:9 September 2019 

The Chilli Heat Scale - How Hot is your Chilli Powder?

There are unlimited types of chilli peppers ranging from the completely spice-less bell pepper at the bottom end of the scale to the hottest chilli of all, the ‘Trinidad Scorpion’, guaranteed to bring you to tears, and have you wishing you’d refrigerated your toilet paper! Paprika, jalapeño, bird’s eye chilli, cayenne, and Police capsicum spray are all somewhere in between. When you buy a bag of chilli powder, it’s always a bit of a gamble. How do you know how hot it is?  


The Scoville Scale

It’s the active ingredient capsaicin (cap-say-sin) that gives chilli peppers their heat. The Scoville Scale measures the level of capsaicin in different varieties of chilli peppers (SHU). The numbers on the Scoville Scale range from 0 (Bell Pepper/Capsicum), to the hottest known Trinidad Scorpion at 2,000,000 SHU. 


But How Hot is Chilli Powder?

What this means is that a powder made from the Trinidad Scorpion chilli would have to be diluted at a ratio of 1: 2,000,000 (yep, that’s 2 million) before you couldn’t detect any heat at all! While some brag about their tolerance to chilli, those peppers at the top of the scale can be seriously damaging to body tissue. Personally, I’d rather enjoy my food than eat fire.

At Pure Food Essentials, we try to cater for most tastes on the Scoville Scale. Now these are fresh, organic, 100% chilli pepper powders; harvested, dried, ground and bagged within a short time, and so retaining their potency. 

Our organic Sweet Kashmiri Paprika powder is a mild 2,000 SHU. It has a little bite and would be considered mild by most chilli lovers. As well as giving your dish a little bit of punch, our sweet paprika adds a red tinge to cooked food.

At a reasonable level of heat is Pure Food Essentials organic Chilli Powder at 19,200 heat units (SHU). by my standards this is hot. How much of it to use in a recipe will require some experimentation, but you can be sure it’s hotter than most commercially available chilli powders. Freshness makes all the difference, so keep your packet sealed and away from sunlight.

Pure Food Essentials organic Cayenne Powder has been rated at 67,200 SHU. That’s almost three times as hot as the chilli powder, and so should be used carefully.

But it’s all a matter of taste. What’s hot for some, is mild for others. Having a point of reference on the Scoville Scale can be helpful. Once you have tried our organic paprika, chilli and cayenne powders, you will know what level of capsaicin, or Scoville Heat units (SHU) is right for you. When buying products containing capsaicin look on the label near the ingredients list for the SHU rating. 



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