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Ghost Pepper Extract – Bring On The Burn!

Ghost Pepper Extract ImageGhost Pepper Extract – Bring On The Burn!

So you’ve cut your teeth on some of the more “palatable” peppers out there- you’ve tangoed with Tabasco, cha-cha’d with chipotles, and even fought a deadly duel with the scotch bonnet- and now you think you’re ready to join the big leagues? Well say hello to my little friend; the ghost pepper. Rockin’ out at a devastating one million Scoville units, in terms of heat, the ghost pepper can’t be beat. And if you don’t believe me, check out the facts.

The Scoville Scale

The Scoville scale, crafted by Wilbur Scoville in 1912, is a scientific method for determining the heat in different peppers. This heat is caused by a chemical compound called capsaicin that has many effects on the human body. In milder peppers such as jalapeno (with a Scoville heat unit score between 2,500 and 10,000) the low levels of capsaicin cause a mild hot sensation. In peppers with higher levels of capsaicin and thus higher scores on the Scoville heat index, one can feel effects such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, and even serious injury. To get a better idea of the Scoville scale, consider that cayenne peppers comes in between 30,000 and 50,000, and the intensely spicy habanero pepper rates between 100,000 and 350,000. Now remember I mentioned that the ghost pepper rates at a whopping one million Scoville heat units. Basically if this pepper can’t get your fire burning, nothing will.

The ghost pepper grows mainly in different parts of India, where it goes by many names- cobra chili, Naga Bhut Jolokia, and umorok, to name a few. It is grown primarily as a deterrent to wildlife as well as an herbal remedy to induce perspiration. There have also been plans to weaponize the ghost pepper by developing it as both a pepper spray and a smoke bomb. Its use as a food additive is a relatively recent phenomenon.

Why Ghost Pepper Extract?

Now if you’re a die hard spice fan, I’m sure you’re gearing up to by a whole bushel of these wild peppers. But let me first make a pitch for ghost pepper extract instead. Ghost pepper extract is a better idea because it keeps you safe while allowing you to enjoy the one of a kind spice. Remember, they use this stuff to repel wildlife in some areas. It is serious business. If you were trying to slice the pepper and you accidentally touched your eyes, the effect would be similar to a face full of mace. Ghost pepper extract comes in two main forms- flakes and liquid. Add a tiny bit to your favorite foods and your flavor will be transformed in an instant, without any of the hassle that comes with whole peppers. It is recommended you use the flakes on solid food and the liquid in drinks. Trust me, a ghost pepper martini is a surefire start to a wild night on the town!

Now, just because his stuff is “extracted” doesn’t mean you can go crazy. Just a drop or two of the liquid ghost pepper extract is enough to set your tongue on fire for half an hour. Take precaution when using ghost pepper extract by wearing safety goggles and gloves while the bottle is open. Never feed ghost pepper extract to children or people with compromised digestive systems, or you could cause serious damage to their internal systems. Likewise, it’s more than cruel to give the extract as a gift to an unexpecting foodie with no idea of the effects. Personally, I recommend you use ghost pepper extract sparingly, for example to give a little extra kick to soups and sauces- again, just a drop or two will do the trick. For a fun party trick, taste a tiny bit of ghost pepper extract and for the next twenty minutes or so everything you put in your mouth will be spicy. Have you ever had a spicy blueberry? Now’s your chance!

Ghost pepper extract is not for the faint of heart. Consumers have reported instances of profuse sweating, tingling, facial numbness, nausea, and other frightening side effects from going overboard with the stuff. But if you believe you’ve got what it takes, then take on the ghost pepper. If you come out alive, you’ll come out a legend.

Ghost Pepper Recipes

dried ghost peppersIf you’re a pepper aficionado, chances are you’ve heard about the legendary ghost pepper. Cultivated in rural parts of India, the Bhut Jolokia, or ghost chili, is one of the hottest peppers out there. In terms of Scoville heat units (the ranking system used to measure spiciness) the ghost pepper’s score of one million ranks below straight pepper spray and… that’s about it. There was even a (dangerous and not recommended) YouTube trend involving brave (insane) individuals attempting to eat an entire ghost pepper. Side effects ranged from profuse sweating and crying to writhing in agony.

Now this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some ghost pepper recipes. It’s all in how you utilize the intense spice. Some brave connoisseurs like to shave the pepper into razor thin slices as a garnish for different Latin and Indian dishes. There are also a wealth of ghost pepper oils, extracts, sauces, flakes, and dried ground varieties to utilize in your ghost pepper recipes. Don’t be fooled though; these varieties have just as much potency as the real thing in a more easily manageable package. Never give ghost pepper to an unsuspecting guest or apply the pepper in any iteration directly to your skin. Take however much you want to add to your dish, and then halve that, and that’s how much you should use. Trust me, it will still be enough to knock you off your chair. The following are some excellent ghost pepper recipes you can use to get your feet wet.

Ghost Pepper Salsa

Let’s start with the obvious – ghost pepper salsa. If you’re using dried chilies or chili flakes, refrigerate them the night before so they can rehydrate and get soft. If you’re using a ghost pepper extract such as a chili oil, then you can simply pour a dollop in while mixing ingredients. Prepare a simple salsa with fresh diced tomatoes, onions, lime juice, garlic, and a bit of cilantro to counteract some of the ghost pepper heat. Homemade tortilla chips are a nice touch, sliced and thrown in the oven while you’re whipping up your salsa. Be sure to serve with an ample side of sour cream in case some of your more cowardly guests need a break from the heat.

Ghost Peppers in Red Beans and Rice

Hailing from the great state of Louisiana, one of my favorite meals of all times is a hearty portion of red beans and rice. The addition of ghost peppers to this classic Cajun dish takes it over the top! While your white rice is boiling you can cook the dried red beans, sausage, onions, garlic, a little ghost pepper, and any other veggies you’d like to add (I prefer celery and lots of green herbs) in a large greased skillet. Add some chicken stock, cover, and let the flavors stew. Pour the beans over your cooked rice and voila! Red beans and rice with a powerful blast of ghost pepper.

Ghost Pepper Buffalo Wings

No tailgate would be complete without a giant tray of buffalo wings, and ghost pepper buffalo wings are just a more intense way to get into the spirit. When making your buffalo wing sauce you can add a bit of ghost pepper extract along with your other spices before it begins to reduce. Then, simply baste your chicken wings with this off the scale sauce and watch your friends go wild!

Ghost Pepper Bloody Mary

Now onto the hard stuff- hard drinks! A ghost pepper Bloody Mary will kill a hangover quick by literally obliterating your cranium with its pure spicy indulgence. If you already have a pre-made bloody mary sauce mix you can simply add a dash of ghost pepper flakes to the mix and then shake it up with tomato juice and vodka. If you don’t, then here’s my recommendation for a killer homemade ghost pepper bloody mary mix. Blend Worchester sauce, cinnamon, lemon juice, horseradish, and then at the end, just a dash of ghost pepper flakes. Experiment with different ratios to find one that has optimal deliciousness.

You don’t have to be afraid to experiment with ghost pepper recipes, or adding ghost pepper to your favorite foods. The key is in moderation. If you add too much ghost pepper, it will completely overpower the dish and leave your mouth on fire. Just a drop or two will pretty much always do the trick. Happy tasting!