The Hottest Hot Chilis

Descriptions of the worlds hottest hot chilis.

When you say chili, most people think hot and spicy. In reality, however, there are many types of chilis with different flavors and levels of heat. Chilis, also called chili peppers, are members of the pepper family of vegetables and can be consumed fresh or dried. They are eaten whole or used to season other foods with their unique spicy taste.

Chili peppers contain an ingredient called capsaicin. Capsaicin is responsible for the heat, or bite, of each chili and the varieties contain different amounts of capsaicin. Capsaicin does not dissolve in water, so drinking a glass of water after eating a hot chili does nothing to stop the burn. However, it is oil and alcohol soluble, so a cold beer or a cup of ice cream can make a difference. The heat in chilis is ranked by a scale known as the Scoville scale. While each chili pod varies somewhat, the Scoville scale helps consumers rank the varieties of chilis by their heat. One rule to remember is that most of the larger chilis are the mildest and the smallest pack the most heat. So, some chilis are hot and some are mild. What are the world's hottest chilis?

Habanero Chili

The chili that is believed to be the hottest in the world is the Habanero Chili. It is fifty to sixty times hotter than a jalapeno chili. Habaneros are small; they are usually one to two and a half inches long and about one to two inches in diameter. A ripe habanero is usually bright reddish-orange to red. The habanero is very flavorful with a long lasting burn. There are several sub-varieties of habanero, but they are all brutally hot.

Scotch Bonnet Chili

Scotch Bonnet chilis come in red, yellow and green. They are small chilis that tend to be wrinkled in appearance. They are native to Caribbean climates. The seed tip of a Scotch Bonnet chili is so hot it can actually burn your skin when you touch it; if you have been handling a Scotch Bonnet, make sure you do not touch your eyes!

Jamaican Hot Chili

The Jamaican Hot chili is bright red in appearance. It is usually one to two inches in diameter and has an odd, uneven shape. This pepper is slightly citrus in flavor and is sometimes called the mushroom chili. It originated in Jamaica as its name suggests.

Pequin Chili

The Pequin chili is small and oval or round and most often used in its dried form. The Pequin is a deep red color to a rusty orange red. It is one of the smallest chiles, usually measuring less than an inch in length and can be ripe at as small as one third of an inch. It is believed to originate in Mexico and is probably closely related to the wild Tepin chili. It has a citrus undertone to its bold heat.

Tepin Wild Chili

The Tepin chili comes in red and is small and round. This perennial grows wild and is highly prized for its sharp bite.

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