The Carolina Reaper chili pepper is a cultivar of the Capsicum chinense plant. Developed by American breeder Ed Currie, the pepper is red and gnarled, with a bumpy texture and small pointed tail. It was the hottest chili pepper in the world according to Guinness World Records from 2013 to 2023 before it was surpassed by Pepper X, which was also developed by Currie.

Carolina Reaper
SpeciesCapsicum chinense
Hybrid parentageNaga pepper x Habanero
BreederEd Currie
OriginFort Mill, South Carolina, U.S.
Heat Exceptionally hot
Scoville scale1,641,183 SHU

Development edit

Currie, an American breeder, began working in about 2001 on what would become the Carolina Reaper. It took over 10 years to develop.[1][2] Sorting through hundreds of hybrid combinations, Currie was finally successful at crossing a "really nastily hot" La Soufrière (Saint Vincent) Habanero pepper from the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent and a Naga pepper from Pakistan".[3][2][1][a] During November of that year, a reporter from NPR visited Currie to try the new pepper. According to Currie's website: "The reporter ate a small piece of the pepper, rolled around on the floor, hallucinated, and then shared his experiences with the national media."[2] Currie officially named the pepper: "Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper". The word "reaper" was chosen by Currie due to the shape of the pepper's "sickle-like" tail.[5]

Details edit

 
Carolina Reaper plant at 30 days

The Carolina Reaper was certified as the world's hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records on August 11, 2017.[6] Testing was conducted by Winthrop University in South Carolina during the certification process which showed an average heat level of 1,641,183 SHU for a given batch.[6][7] Previously the record for the hottest pepper had been held by the scorpion pepper which measured in at 1,463,700 SHU in comparison.[7][8] It was later claimed through media outlets such as the Associated Press that an individual Carolina Reaper had a heat level of 2.2 million SHU.[7][9][b] Currie eventually bred an even stronger pepper—known as "Pepper X"—that took the title of "World's Hottest Pepper" on August 23, 2023 that was tested indicating an average rating of 2.69 million SHUs.[10][11]

 
Mature plant

Pungency edit

The Reaper has been described as having a fruity taste, with the initial bite being sweet and then immediately turning to "molten lava".[5][12] The sensory heat or pungency detected when eating a Carolina Reaper derives from the density of capsaicinoids, particularly capsaicin, which relates directly to the intensity of chili pepper heat and Scoville Heat Units (SHU).[13]

Cultivation edit

For growing, the pepper has been described as "...a good all-rounder to try at home..." by James Wong, an English ethnobotanist, who stated that they require growing temperatures of at least 18 °C (64 °F). He suggested growing the plants in 30–40 cm (12–16 in) pots to restrict growth and produce fruit sooner.[14] When fully ripe, two peppers occupy the palm of the hand.[12]

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ His newly invented pepper was initially known as "HP22B" when first grown by Currie sometime in 2011.[4]
  2. ^ This higher end number however was never confirmed by Guinness World Records.[6]

References edit

  1. ^ a b David Floyd (2016). "101: Carolina Reaper (HP22B)". 101 Chillies to Try Before You Die. Octopus. ISBN 9781844038657.
  2. ^ a b c "About Us". PuckerButt Pepper Co. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2021. Smokin' Ed gained the pepper industry's attention in November 2011 when an NPR Reporter stopped by to eat an HP22B pepper–now known as Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper®.
  3. ^ Zucchino, David (November 27, 2014). "From Pot To Hot: How a grower produced world's most fiery chile pepper". LA Times. Archived from the original on September 30, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021. It took 12 years of crossbreeding for Currie to reach the pinnacle of the pepper world. He said he tested hundreds of hybrid combinations before finally crossing a "really nastily hot" La Soufriere pepper from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and a Naga pepper from Pakistan to create Smokin Ed's Carolina Reaper—"a tidal wave of scorching fire," as the PuckerButt website puts it.
  4. ^ "Confirmed: Smokin Ed's Carolina Reaper sets new record for hottest chilli". Guinness world records. November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Tu Chau (August 18, 2016). "Eating the 'Carolina Reaper' pepper is 'like eating molten lava'". Pri. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "Hottest chilli pepper (2017)". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on January 28, 2023. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c Hallock, Betty (December 26, 2013). "World's Hottest Pepper Hits 2.2 Million Scoville Heat Units". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  8. ^ DaSilva, Matthew (April 12, 2011). "World's hottest chilli grown by Aussies". Australian Geographic. Archived from the original on April 15, 2019. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
  9. ^ Collins, Jeffrey (December 26, 2013). "World's Hottest Pepper is Grown in South Carolina". Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 1, 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "Hottest chilli pepper". Guinness World Records. October 16, 2023. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  11. ^ "Pepper X dethrones Carolina Reaper as world's hottest chilli pepper". Guinness World Records. October 16, 2023. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  12. ^ a b Smithers, Rebecca (July 16, 2016). "UK shoppers to feel the heat as world's strongest chilli hits the high street". The Guardian. Archived from the original on February 5, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  13. ^ Nagy, Z; Daood, H; Ambrózy, Z; Helyes, L (2015). "Determination of Polyphenols, Capsaicinoids, and Vitamin C in New Hybrids of Chili Peppers". Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry. 2015: 102125. doi:10.1155/2015/102125. PMC 4606152. PMID 26495153.
  14. ^ Wong, James (February 28, 2016). "Gardens: the hottest chilli ever grown". The Guardian. Archived from the original on March 9, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.

External links edit