Chili Hotness: How It's Measured and What It Means
The hotness of chillies is an important aspect that influences the selection and use of chili varieties. The spiciness is usually determined by the capsaicin content, a substance that occurs in the fruit and is responsible for the spiciness. Capsaicin is insoluble in water and can only be dissolved by alcohol or oil, which increases the sharpness in the mouth. The hotness of chilies is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The scale ranges from 0 (no sharpness) to over 2 million (very sharp). Some well-known examples are: Jalapeno, which has 2,500 to 8,000 SHU; habanero, which has 100,000 to 350,000 SHU; and the Ghost Pepper, which reaches up to 1 million SHU. One method of measuring hotness is the Scoville Organoleptic Test, in which samples of chilli extract are dissolved in water and then tasted by a panel of testers to rate hotness. Another method that is widely used today is HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography), which accurately determines capsaicin levels. It's important to note that spiciness isn't the only criterion when choosing chili varieties. Each variety has its own characteristics and purpose, such as taste, color and size of the fruit. It's important to choose the right strain for the intended use and to pay attention to the sharpness levels to avoid unwanted surprises. Another important element when consuming hot chilies is the individual sensitivity to heat, which can vary from person to person. It is important to own
Sensitivity to spiciness should be taken into account and the use of chillies adjusted accordingly. Some people can eat very hot chillies without any problems, while others have problems even with mild varieties. A good way to test your own sensitivity to spiciness is to try different types of chili while keeping an eye on the spiciness levels.
Overall, it is important to understand and take into account the hotness of chillies in order to choose the right variety for the desired use and to avoid any unwanted surprises. It's also important to consider individual sensitivity to heat and adjust chilli use accordingly. Experiment with different types of chili and discover your own sensitivity to heat and which chilies you like best.