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The Scoville Scale

theogonia777

one thing that people often talk about with spicy foods is how spicy they are, in particular, comparing different peppers and sauces. ask different people, and they will tell you this pepper is hotter than this one, and this sauce is the hottest.

but did you know that there is actually a scale, the Scoville scale, for measuring the piquancy of spicy foods. as you may or may not know, spiciness is caused by the chemical compound
capsaicin coming in contact with your taste buds. Capsaicin is an irritant that causes a burning sensation in mammals when it comes in contact with tissue, and the tissues of the taste buds are no exception. this is responsible for the piquant taste, as well as the intense burning if you've ever been unlucky enough to get it in your eyes.

the Scoville scale is the measure of the amount of capsaicin in a pepper or sauce. it is measured with Scoville heat units (SHU). the number of SHU's is determined by the amount of water relative to the amount of pepper or sauce that is required to distill it enough so that their is not enough capsaicin for the taste buds to detect. so for example, if you had a sauce rated at 1,000 SHU's, than 30 ml (about 1 US tablespoon) would need to be distilled in 30,000 ml, or 30 liters (equal to 15 two liter soda bottles) in order to be undetectable.

SHU levels can vary from almost capsaicin-free bell peppers (0 SHU), to jalapeo peppers (2,500-8,000 SHU), to cayenne peppers (30,000-50,000), to habanero peppers (100,000350,000 SHU), to pure capsaicin extract (15,000,000-16,000,000 SHU).

for more information on the Scoville scale, including a chart with various peppers, visit the Wikipedia page on the subject.
one thing that people often talk about with spicy foods is how spicy they are, in particular, comparing different peppers and sauces.   ask different people, and they will tell you this pepper is hotter than this one, and this sauce is the hottest. 

but did you know that there is actually a scale, the Scoville scale, for measuring the piquancy of spicy foods.  as you may or may not know, spiciness is caused by the chemical compound
capsaicin coming in contact with your taste buds.  Capsaicin is an irritant that causes a burning sensation in mammals when it comes in contact with tissue, and the tissues of the taste buds are no exception.  this is responsible for the piquant taste, as well as the intense burning if you've ever been unlucky enough to get it in your eyes.

the Scoville scale is the measure of the amount of capsaicin in a pepper or sauce.  it is measured with Scoville heat units (SHU).  the number of SHU's is determined by the amount of water relative to the amount of pepper or sauce that is required to distill it enough so that their is not enough capsaicin for the taste buds to detect.  so for example, if you had a sauce rated at 1,000 SHU's, than 30 ml (about 1 US tablespoon) would need to be distilled in 30,000 ml, or 30 liters (equal to 15 two liter soda bottles) in order to be undetectable. 

SHU levels can vary from almost capsaicin-free bell peppers (0 SHU), to jalapeo peppers (2,500-8,000 SHU), to cayenne peppers (30,000-50,000), to habanero peppers (100,000350,000 SHU), to pure capsaicin extract (15,000,000-16,000,000 SHU).

for more information on the Scoville scale, including a chart with various peppers, visit the Wikipedia page on the subject.
Posted: Jan 20, 2011 2:19 AM - Quote - Report!

Crazed Shredder

Nice, thanks. I did not know they had an official scale. Nice, thanks. I did not know they had an official scale.
Posted: Jan 24, 2011 6:11 AM - Quote - Report!
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