Scoville Scale: The Heat is On

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Jonesborough pepper grower Jeff Stratton explains the Scoville scale and rates his top five peppers to grow in Tennessee.

The Scoville scale, named after American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville, measures the spicy heat of chili peppers. The scale is reported in Scoville heat units (SHU) and starts at 0 with bell peppers, Stratton explains. A poblano measures around 700 SHU, a Tabasco pepper will measure between 50,000 and 80,000 SHU, and a habanero is between 100,000 and 300,000 SHU.

If you like it off the charts, the ghost pepper comes in at 1 million-plus SHU, while the Trinidad moruga scorpion rates between 1.5 and 2 million SHU. Currently, the world’s hottest pepper is the Carolina Reaper, with peak levels of more than 2.2 million SHU.

Here are Stratton’s top five peppers to grow:

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Corbaci chile pepper

1. Corbaci – 1,000 SHU: A sweet pepper from Turkey that grows in a twisted, snake-like shape, Corbacis are best eaten fresh or sautéed.

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