Friday, 4 October 2013

The Scorpion Pepper

Ever wonder what the hottest pepper in the world is? It has changed a few times over the years, most recently from the Naga Bhut Jolokia, commonly known as the Ghost Pepper, to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, also known by its shorter name, the Scorpion Pepper, as reported by Susan Bryan of the Associated Press. Anyone that has ever investigated peppers, whether they are hot, medium or mild, will be familiar with the Scoville Unit Scale. This scale is a charted system that documents the average heat levels of peppers, so pepper fans can get an idea of what they will be enjoying (or not enjoying) before taking that first bite.

The average size of your typical scorpion is the size of a golf ball and it is bright red in color. Scoville units of this pepper clock in at a little over 2,000,000 according to Ironically, even though this is the hottest pepper on record, it has a very sweet and tasty flavor to it once the seeds and intensity components are removed. Keep this in mind when cooking. If you are trying to find a unique spin for your cooking recipes, the exterior of the scorpion may be for you if your a creative and sharp chef.

Remember two things when preparing your Scorpion pepper for a dish:

1. These peppers are no joke, and should be handled with gloves.

2. The only time you should eat these (if you are not a hot food lover) is if they are de-seeded and properly inspected so there are no remnants of the inner core remaining.

Now that you know a bit about the scorpion pepper, let's talk about a few cooking recipes use for it. A favorite dish in Mexican culture is stuffed peppers. Typically these will be filled with a variety of cheeses and seasonings teamed with the most common stuffed pepper dish, the Poblano. You can actually use any pepper you like when stuffing, the scorpion pepper is a unique choice but can offer a smooth and sweet flavor after the core is removed. If you decide to use the scorpion for a stuffed pepper, we recommend adding a few seasonings to the cheese that you stuff inside, sweet ingredients will often subside heat. A dash of lime powder or sprinkle of sugar can help prepare the palette for any rouge heat it may encounter from the exterior of the Scorpion.

A common use with peppers is obviously in cooking recipes for salsa. It is very universal for salsa manufacturers to dabble in the likes of ghost and scorpion peppers to get that outlandish level of heat for their salsa fans. If you have the patience and knowledge of this famed pepper it can really make for a one-of-a-kind salsa.

The heat intensity of each pepper is different, and can have a variety of reactions to one's palette based on its placement within the Scoville Scale. When using dry heat ingredients like crushed red pepper seeds or chipotle powder, expect to have a minor delayed reaction to the heat when mixed with other ingredients for a recipe for salsa, guacamole, tacos or chicken tortilla soup. Depending on the ingredients that you use, you will actually receive a steady build-up until the intensity reaches its climax; the more you eat, the hotter it gets.

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