Bred by cultivator Ed Currie the Carolina Reaper is a hybrid chile pepper of the Capsicum chinense species, originally named the "HP22B". The “HP22B” stands for "Higher Power, Pot no 22, plant B". As of 2013 it was over 7 generations old. This chile variety was created by crossing a Pakistani Naga with a Red Habanero type from St Vincents Island in the West Indies.
A recent study found a strong interrelationship between “sensation-seeking” and the practice of chile eating. Principal among a hardcore chilehead’s "nature of the beast" is getting scorched. In layman’s terms, this means eating a chile that causes one to experience excessive loss of taste buds, nausea, redness, sweating, possible vomiting, or all of the above. Getting scorched can happen on purpose (dares and pranks) or accidently (miscalculating, incorrect chile identification). These fire eating thrill seekers are always looking for the hottest chiles available to provide the greatest thrill.
In November 2013 the "Carolina Reaper" was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the world's hottest chile pepper and tips the scales in the range of 1,400,000 - 2,200,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). The previous record-holder was the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T at a little over 2,000,000 SHU.
The Red Savina Habanero Chile held the record as the world’s hottest (at 577,000 SHU) from 1994-2007 when it was defeated by the Bhut Jolokia (aka “Ghost Chile”). Since 2010, the official Guinness Record title has been passed from the Bhut Jolokia (1,041,42 SHU), the Infinity Chille (1,067,286), the Naga Viper (1,349,000), the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (1,463,700) and then the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231). In comparison orange Habaneros come in at 100,000 -150,000 SHU and Jalapenos at 3,000 - 8,000 SHU.
This is one fiery hot chile pepper and it has a unique long stinger or tail at the end of it. This chile pepper was given the name "Reaper" for a reason, so use with great caution. If you can get past the “burn your face off” heat the Carolina Reaper Chili has a pleasant flavor with undertones of chocolate and cherry.
There are three hotbeds of chileheads that compete for growing the world’s next hottest chile pepper - Australia, England and the U.S. The Carolina Reaper’s creator Ed Curries was not a chilehead looking to make his mark in this arena. His interest in growing chile peppers had more to do with cancer research.
Currie’s family has a long history of cancer and heart disease. In college he began researching which populations had the lowest rates of these two common diseases. He discovered that regions that had extremely low rates of these diseases ate hot chiles with every meal. That is when he started growing peppers.
One of the other things that he discovered over the years was that chemotherapy patients often lose the ability to taste anything but “sweet” and adding the sensation of heat made their meals more enjoyable. Currie was attempting to grow a sweet pepper with a bit more heat when he inadvertently created the Carolina Reaper. It is the sweetest superhot chile you can find.
We opted for carrying the Carolina Reaper Flakes instead of whole dried chiles, as flakes are easy to handle in the kitchen (although for pranking friends whole chiles tend to work better).
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