Hot chili peppers range from 100,001 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units. There are many varieties of chili peppers, and they often have different names depending on region. Here is a list of some of the vast variety of hot chili peppers from around the world.
175,000 Scovilles. Also sometimes known as Piri Piri or Pili Pili, the African Bird’s Eye is a small chile, growing to only about 1 inch, but they pack a lot of punch. They mature to red or purple, and have a tapered shape, with a blunt point. Historically found in the African wild, it has recently been grown commercially in some parts of Africa, often to be used as pepper extract or as organic pest control. The African Bird’s Eye is commonly used in soups, stews, hot sauces and chicken dishes, but the flavor is less interesting than other popular peppers. It is a close relative of the Tabasco pepper. It is the main ingredient in Peri Peri Sauce - get the recipe here.
95,000-110,000 Scovilles. As its name suggests, the Bahamian pepper originates from the Bahamas, where it is still one of the major agricultural crops. This small, round pepper grows to only about an inch in length, and may be found in an assortment of colors, including yellow, orange, green and red. Interestingly, the Bahamian pepper grows upright in clusters, unlike most peppers that hang from their stems. At roughly 100,000 Scovilles, they are hotter than the cayenne, but not quite as hot as most habaneros. They make a deliciously spicy addition to many foods and dishes.
100,000-125,000 Scovilles. Similar in appearance to the original cayenne, this variety is twice as hot and appears slightly wider. Maturing to a deep red, the Carolina Cayenne has wrinkled, thin skin. It is native to Central and South America but was perfected and developed for growing by Clemson University in 1985. Most significantly, they found that it is resistant to root-knot nematode, a pest that can destroy certain plants and crops. Studies suggest it can be used as a rotation crop to reduce root-knot nematode, allowing another crop to be planted in that space following the Carolina Cayenne.
100,000 – 300,000 Scovilles. The Datil packs the intense heat of a Habanero or a Scotch Bonnet, but its flavor is sweeter, and more fruity. It grows to about 3 inches long, and turns yellow-orange when mature. The majority of Datils come from St. Augustine, FL, where they are grown commercially, but they can be grown almost anywhere indoors with seeds from vendors. Many companies make all types of hot sauces, which can be found at some specialty stores or online.Two different stories exist about the arrival of the Datil in St. Augustine. Some say that people brought the pepper from Minorca, a Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain, in the 18th century. Others say a jelly maker from Chile brought it to Florida around 1880. Either way, the Datil is so popular in St. Augustine and its local cuisine, that they hold an annual Datil Pepper Festival each October.
125,000-325,000 Scovilles. The Devil’s Tongue is similar in color and shape to the Fatalii, but with smoother skin and smaller size. It matures to a bright yellow or yellow-orange and has a sweet, fruity flavor, if you can get past the intense heat. It appears to be in the habanero family, but it was “discovered” in Pennsylvania growing amongst other habaneros, so its exact origins are unknown. The heat level rivals that of the habanero and is still much hotter than most peppers.
125,000-325,000 Scovilles. The Fatalii comes from central and southern Africa, and is one of the hottest peppers in the world. With the heat level of a habanero, it has a more fruity, citrus flavor, and packs an instant, intense burn, unlike the habanero, whose heat “sneaks up on you.” The peppers grow to about 3 inches long, and mature to yellow. They have somewhat thin walls, and may be dried if cut lengthwise. They could be made into a powder for an intense spice, or frozen for later use.
100,000 - 350,000 Scovilles originally. 80,000 - 600,000 Scovilles is the new range. This pepper is named after the Cuban city of La Habana, known here as Havana, because it used to feature in heavy trading there. It is related to the Scotch bonnet pepper; they have somewhat different pod types but are varieties of the same species and have similar heat levels. The habanero pepper grows mainly on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, where it is now thought to have originated, though it also grows in other hot climates including in Belize, in Costa Rica, in parts of the United States, and in Panama where it is known as the aji chombo. Once the Spanish had discovered it, they spread it far and wide around the world, so much so that taxonomists in the 18th century thought it originated in China and therefore named it “Capsicum chinense” or the “Chinese pepper.” If anything, this pepper’s popularity is even more on the rise today.
100,000-200,000 Scovilles. As the name suggests, these peppers are from Jamaica, but have become popular around the world. There are a few varieties of Jamaican hot peppers. The Jamaican Hot Chocolate Pepper matures to a rich brown color with ribbed and wrinkled skin. They grow to about 2 inches and have a very spicy Caribbean flavor. They are great for use in hot sauces and marinades. The Jamaican Hot Red or Yellow Pepper is squash-shaped with thinner skin and matures to a bright yellow or red. The red is slightly spicier than the other two varieties. These can be pickled or even eaten fresh, if you can get past the intense heat.
225,000 Scovilles average (ranging from 125,000 to 325,000 SHU). Rumored to be named after a famous Brazilian prostitute, the Madame Jeanette comes in various forms, from an elongated shape of a bell pepper about 3-4 inches long, or somewhat curved in similar size, or even similar in shape to a Scotch Bonnet. It brings the intense heat of a habanero and is known for its sweet tropical flavor. The peppers mature to either yellow or red, depending on the variety. The Madame Jeanette is from Suriname in South America, and are quite prominent in Surinamise dishes, particularly prized for their flavor and aroma when cooking. It is also common in Indian sambal.
100,000 - 350,000 Scovilles. This pepper is a cultivar of the habanero and is among the hottest peppers anywhere. Its name derives from its resemblance to the Scottish Tam o' Shanter hat, though it appears primarily in the Carribean and in Guyana and the Maldives. Other names for these chili peppers include Bahamian, Bahama Mama, Jamaican Hot or Martinique Pepper, as well as booney peppers, bonney peppers, Boabs Bonnet, Scotty Bons and goat peppers. The Scotch bonnet pepper is usually red or yellow at maturity. It typically features with jerk dishes including pork and chicken. Its apple-and-cherry-tomato flavor also pops up with other dishes in Grenadian, Trinidadian, Jamaican, Barbadian, Guyanese, Surinamese, Haitian and Caymanian cuisine.
Sugar Rush-(Capsicum bacattum). This is a rare Peach colored Capsicum bacattum variety from Peru that is very sweet. The heat level approaches habanero, but does not quite achieve it. It might be the only Peach colored Aji type we have ever seen. It is similar to the Aji Amarillo but much sweeter, which is why it's called Sugar Rush. The Sugar Rush Chili plants will grow over 5 feet tall and will need staking. Like many Aji's they have a long season but produce many peppers into the fall.
85,000-115,000 Scovilles. Originally from India, the Tabiche pepper can now be found growing worldwide and often year-round, but it does best in hot, dry climates. It grows to about three inches in length and an inch in width, with the shape of a thin teardrop. It has wrinkled, thin skin, and can mature to a pale yellow or a bright, glossy red.
265,000-328,000 Scovilles. Developed in Charleston, South Carolina, the Tiger Paw NR is an extra-hot bright orange habanero variety. Although not necessarily bred for its heat, it does pack quite a punch compared to a regular habanero. The significance of this habanero hybrid is its resistance to root-knot nematode, a parasitic worm (hence the NR in the name- Nematode Resistant). Root knot nematode can destroy a crop, and resistance makes growing this variety much easier. Recent research by scientists and the USDA in South Carolina has created a stir in the field of chili peppers because they have been able to develop a few varieties of pepper with this resistance, making farming much more productive. Other chiles stemming from this region and this research include the Charleston Hot and the Carolina Cayenne.
80,000 – 120,000 Scoville Heat Units. We grew a variety of chili peppers in our garden this year, like every year, and were happy with a newcomer – the Tshololo chili pepper. There isn’t much information on this wonderful little pepper. It originates in Brazil and it is fairly rare. It is Capsicum Chinense. Having grown them this year, I can tell you that they are roughly 4-5 inches in length and curl up like a cayenne pepper, though the pepper flesh is a bit thicker than the cayenne.
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