Ghost 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.