Archive for October, 2011

Dear Veggie eaters – especially those that like their food HOT! —

Here’s  a pepper you would not expect to see in Wenatchee, WA: the Bhut Jolokia or Ghost Pepper. But we actually have (3), courtesy of our neighbor at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market. Now, when I tell you that this is one hot pepper despite it’s size, you might look at me kinda funny. This teeny tiny pepper would fit in a squirrel’s coffee cup!

Yellow Bhut Jolokia peppers

The ones we have are maybe one whole inch long, but boy do they pack a mean punch!

Peppers – hot peppers – are rated for heat level on what’s called the Scoville Scale. At the very bottom of the scale, you have the Green Bell Pepper. (Mmm.. my favorite in-garden snack!)  Further up, the Anaheim, the lovely long green tapered peppers used to make Chile Rellenos. Interestingly, on some scales I’ve seen, Anaheims are rated in two different categories – 1,000-2,500 and 3,500 to 8,000. I know I’ve been fooled before when what looks like a mild one turns out to be a double burner! But they are sooooo much lower on the scale than the Bhut Jolokia that the amount of heat we are talking about here is laughable. Yes, laughable!

Take a look for yourself:

Scoville Scale

People who know peppers and love hot pepper talk about Jalapenos, Serranos, Habaneros, and Cayenne. I’ve also heard Scotch Bonnets and the Arbol name bandied about. But folks, these peppers don’t even come close to the Bhut Jolokia, which rates at 1,000,000 on the Scoville Scale, right under police-grade pepper spray. (Could it blind you? No doubt!)

So…why do we have the seeds? To grow ’em, of course! For fools that love things hot, hot, hot, and will not take “mild” for an answer. You might even already be interested in growing them yourself. (Who says misery doesn’t love company?)

Unfortunately, these puppies take a long time to grow – about 9 months – so we’ll be starting them indoors soon for next year’s harvest.

I sure hope my 14 year-old cat doesn’t get into them…. ouch!

In the meantime, here’s a rather whimsical and graphical depiction of the Scoville Scale to keep in mind when you go to the market in search of peppers. Let the heat levels guide you to the best pepper for you!



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