If You Can’t Take the Heat

If You Can't Take the HeatWhen I first heard about the Bhut Jolokia pepper I was immediately intrigued. This is known as the hottest pepper in the world and is often referred to as the “ghost pepper” or the” ghost chili”. The pepper itself is so hot that you are required to wear gloves even touching it, as the skin on the pepper will burn your hands on contact.

If you watch the television show Man v. Food, brought to you by Adam Richman and the Travel Channel, you have seen him try to tackle some dishes that have these peppers as one of the main ingredients. He has actually participated in a hot wings challenge twice now that has a Bhut Jolokia based paste as one of the ingredients. Needless to say he has not finished the challenge and all he has to do is eat six of these wings.

If you want an idea of how hot this pepper is, you can head over to YouTube and watch a handful of videos, most which appear to be real, of folks attempting to eat these peppers raw. One guy actually falls over and starts convulsing because of the heat packed into these puppies. But note that not all folks think this pepper is hot. There is a woman who has recently been filmed eating these peppers by the dozen and not reacting at all to the Scoville Units each pepper packs. Don’t ask me how she does it because I cannot even smell these things without tearing up. (The Bhut Jolokia has more than 1,000,000 Scoville Units.)

The pepper actually holds the world record for being the hottest in the world. It was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007. It is grown in northern India and folks there eat these things like candy. To give you an idea of the heat level, the Bhut Jolokia pepper is 1,000 times hotter than a jalapeno. Think about that the next time you reach for your water glass to cool your mouth down after biting into a jalapeno. (Did you know that water actually makes it worse? Milk will help cool the palate down, but water simply cleanses the tongue and has no effect on the heat your mouth is experiencing.)

I have actually called around the Indianapolis area seeing if I could get these peppers locally. Sadly, not a single grocery store will order them and the only place that will, Whole Foods Market, has to get a manager’s approval and will only order them dried. It seems to be impossible to get these raw. I did find them in stock at Jungle Jim’s not too long ago. They come in a pack of about ten peppers and they are all dried. On the back of the package you can see how to bring them back to their original state, but if you ask me it’s not the same as right off the vine.

Other than cooking with these peppers, or eating them for your chance at fifteen minutes of fame, what else can you do with these peppers? Well, one solution is taking these spicy pepper’s dust and using it in pepper spray. (Hence the name I guess.) I know not a lot of men out there carry a cartridge of pepper spray, but some of you ladies might. Imagine taking the same peppers that force you to wear gloves when handling and spraying that into your attacker’s eyes. Just make sure you don’t breath in the fumes when you use it.

Another newly found solution, thinking on the same line of fighting back against your attackers, military forces in India are starting to use these peppers in hand grenades. Imagine that damage that you would cause by not only tossing a hand grenade at your enemy but also making it worse by spraying them with this pepper dust. It adds a whole new level of universal threat protection. The next time you go to a gourmet or organic foods market, ask around and see if you can’t get your hands on some of these peppers. I don’t suggest using them to harm anyone, obviously, but you can make one mean bowl of chili or some insane hot sauce.