You likely fall into one of two categories of people: the hot pepper lovers and the would-be lovers. For hot pepper sauce aficionados, a mind-boggling array of habaneros, scotch bonnets, and jalapeños exist to satiate the fussiest fire-eater. And hot peppers pack an impressive health punch — their benefits include pain suppression, improved circulation, antimicrobial action, anti- inflammatory action and elevated metabolism.
Not all peppers are hot. Technically, a chile pepper is defined as the pod of any species of Capsicum, and some are quite mild, such as bell peppers or sweet peppers. Of the five major species, C. annuum constitutes the largest group and contains the cayenne, bell, serrano and jalapeños peppers. C. chinense boasts the hottest peppers, such as scotch bonnets and habaneros, whose marble-shaped pods range in color from unripe green to fully ripe red.
How Hot is Hot?
Peppers are rated according to their capsaicin (or capsaicinoid) content, using a scale developed in 1912 by a pharmacist named Scoville. For comparison, most bell peppers rate 0 to 100; jalapeños are 2,500 to 5,000; cayenne (or red pepper) and tabascos are 30,000 to 50,000; scotch bonnet and Thai peppers are 100,000 to 350,000; and habaneros are 200,000 to 577,000. Pure capsaicin rates 16,000,000. The capsaicin content is mainly a function of genetics — sweet peppers lack the gene for its production.
Our favorite peppers….
Bell Peppers, which can be red, yellow, green or orange, aren’t hot peppers. You can cook bell peppers in a variety of different ways, however don’t expect this type of pepper to add spice to your food, but it does enhance the flavors of our Cucumber Mango/Orange Habañero Crushed Pepper Sauce.
The jalapeño is one of the most common types of peppers. Jalapeño are usually either red or green and are about two to three inches long. Their Scoville Heat Index is typically around 5,000, however jalapeños can range anywhere from 2,000 to 8,000. These peppers, when used sparingly, add just the right amount of spicy flavor to most Mexican dishes. This is the main pepper in our Walk the Plank Jalapeño Passion Crushed Pepper Sauce.
The chipotle pepper, naturally, resembles a jalapeño, but tends to be brown and shriveled losing little of its heat through the smoking process, and many enjoy not only its spiciness but as well the natural wood smoke taste accompanying the chipotle pepper. Chipotle ranks between 5,000 and 10,000 and is in our Smoked Chipotle Passion Fruit Crushed Pepper Sauce.
The Cayenne pepper is (between 25,000 and 50,000) popular with those looking to add heat to food. Red in color, the Cayenne pepper is generally dried and used in powder form. Additionally, this pepper has been used in natural medicines for hundreds of years due to reported healing attributes. We use this in the Habañero Hellfire Wing Sauce, Habañero Mango Mayhem Wing Sauce and our Curried Pineapple/Orange Habañero Crushed Pepper Sauce along with Habañeros.
Scotch Bonnet Pepper
In the Caribbean, the Scotch Bonnet pepper is the pepper of choice; it is the most widely used hot pepper in Caribbean cuisine. Scotch Bonnet peppers are among the most intensely hot of all peppers, with a Scoville rating that starts out around 150,000 and can climb as high as 300,000. They have a unique earthy and slightly apricot-like flavor which is delightful, assuming the tongue can discern it beyond the intense heat used in our Scotch Bonnet Mango Madness Crushed Pepper Sauce and Scotch Bonnet Papaya Punch Crushed Pepper Sauce.
Habanero chili pepper
Of hot peppers that are commonly used, the Habanero chili is recognized as one of the hottest. This pepper, which can be any color from green to yellow to pink, is usually only around three centimeters in length. However, do not let the small size fool you – the Habanero chili packs a punch! The Scoville Heat Index for the Habanero chili can range from 150,000 to 350,000. We use this in our Habañero Mango Mustard, Fire Roasted Habañero Garlic Infused Crushed Pepper Sauce and many others of our sauces.
Also known as Naga Jolokia is literally the second hottest pepper in the world next to the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T pepper. The Ghost Pepper has a Scoville Heat Index of over 1,000,000. If you get your hand on a Ghost pepper, be sure to be extremely careful because one seed from this pepper will have your mouth burning for up to thirty minutes. This is used in our hottest sauce, Off The Plank Naga Jolokia Ghost Crushed Pepper Sauce and our number two hottest, Red Savina Citrus Slammer Crushed Pepper Sauce.
No matter what heat level you like, Caribbean Trading Company’s Gourmet Sauces are a great way to put some spice in your life.
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