Las Cruces (New Mexico): India’s Bhut Jolokia chilli has been confirmed as the world’s hottest pepper by The Guinness Book of Records, a US researcher said.
Bhut Jolokia comes in at 1,001,304 Scoville heat units, a measure of hotness for a chilli. It is nearly twice as hot as Red Savina, the variety it replaces as the hottest. By comparison, an average jalapeno measures at about 10,000.
Paul Bosland, a Regents professor at New Mexico State University, recalls taking a bite of the chilli pepper and feeling like he was breathing fire. He gulped down a soda, thinking, “that chilli has got to be some kind of record.”
The Guinness Book of Records agreed, confirming recently that Bosland had discovered the world’s hottest chilli pepper.
The pepper’s name translates as ghost chilli, Bosland said.
The Bhut Jolokia is a naturally occurring hybrid native to Assam. A member of the university’s Chilli Pepper Institute, who was visiting India, sent Bhut Jolokia seeds back to New Mexico for testing in 2001. The plant does not produce fruit easily, so it took some years to get enough for field testing, Bosland said.
He then grew Bhut Jolokia, Red Savina and habanero peppers under controlled settings and found that Bhut Jolokia had significantly higher Scoville ratings. Those findings were confirmed by two independent laboratories.
The Bhut Jolokia variety has potential as a food additive in the packaged food industry, Bosland said. It could be pickled while green, dehydrated and used as seasoning. Because the heat is so concentrated, food manufacturers would save money because they would use less.