Chili peppers are used worldwide in nearly all different cuisines. There is an absolutely massive amount of diversity within this group of plants, from no heat and sweet (Bell Peppers), to extremely spicy to the extent they make weapons from them (pepper spray). What a range! Spice Chasm only sells spicy chilies of varying degrees, and we want to warn people that our hotter pepper varieties are INCREDIBLY hot to the point of pain! Please be aware and cook accordingly. Below is a description of each of the varieties we grow.
Amongst the chili enthusiasts, a scale is used to determine average tested heat levels. This is known as the "Scoville Scale" and the units are measured in "SHU". Most use Jalapeno as the standard at about 8,000 SHU. Be aware these are averages and each plant, farm, season and even day can vary in heat levels. Some varieties are quite stable, like jalapeno and ghost, whereas some varieties are variable such as poblano.
Ancho & Poblano: Ancho and poblano peppers are actually the same thing but different form. Ancho are dried, whereas poblano are fresh. Poblano peppers are known to be mostly mild in heat but there is often variation with some peppers on the plant being surprisingly hotter than the rest. Poblano peppers are mostly used in Mexican cuisine and a great way to prepare fresh poblano is removing seeds and stuffing with cheese, spices and maybe some chopped up veggies and baking or roasting the pepper. Yum!
Mild heat level. Normally under 2,000 SHU
Jalapeno: Jalapeno peppers are without a doubt the gold standard of spicy chili peppers, often being used to gauge the heat level of other chilies. Although they are not considered too spicy, they do pack a small punch. Both green and red chilies are eaten everywhere. Green jalapenos are great for pickling, putting in vinegar or oils and stuffing for baked/roasted treats. The flavor is somewhat similar to bell peppers with heat and far less sugar. Red jalapenos are where it’s at though! The red, mature peppers are far more flavorful, sweeter and spicier. Jalapenos are a Mexican and Latin chili, but have now made their way through western cuisines and are slowly starting to enter into the Asian scene.
Mild to medium heat level. 8,000 (Green), 13,000 (Red) SHU
Bird's Eye: Bird's eye peppers are to East Asia what Jalapeno are to Mexico. Bird's eye is the staple pepper in Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food. Those little cute things that nearly make you cry...Bird's Eye. These little peppers pack a good bang, but have little flavor. Used a lot in soups, sauces and mixed into almost anything where heat is needed without interfering with the taste of the other ingredients. Bird's eye are eaten when ripe, red. A great, consistent staple of a chili if there ever was one!
Medium to high heat level. 70,000 SHU
Siling Labuyo Pepper: This tiny little pepper is the firecracker we might consider to be Bird's eyes' hotter little cousin. Similar in shape to the bird's eye chili, this one is about 1/4 to 1/2 the size and about 20-30% hotter usually. The flavor is also quite a bit better, often having a sweeter fruiter aroma. This pepper is not often sold commercially outside of its growing range due to its tiny size and cost of growing it. But it is THE pepper you think of when you went on vacation to SE Asia and tried these really spicy tiny peppers that probably can't be found back home. Depending on the they ripen to yellow, orange and red. Green peppers generally are not eaten.
Medium to high heat level. 100,000 SHU
Habanero: Habanero is probably the all-around best tasting spicy chili pepper that exists. It has a very sweet, fruity aroma and tastes amazing. But it is hot! Very hot. Habanero is grown now worldwide for its distinctive taste, aroma and mouthwatering heat. This pepper was considered the world’s hottest for a very long time, though now there are some truly scary hot varieties. Habanero are eaten ripe when yellow, orange ro red. We grow and sell all 3 color types.
High heat level. 100,000-300,000 SHU
Ghost Pepper / Bhut jolokia: Enter scary territory! Once we get to ghost we start getting worried. First and foremost, this pepper is EXTREMELY hot. At least 100x hotter than a jalapeno. These things are crazy hot, but absolutely delicious. Much like habanero in that they have a very flavorful distinct taste, aside from the heat. This pepper has become a favorite amongst chili heads because it isn’t just painfully hot, it is actually yummy. This pepper should really be stored well, away from children and pets! Ghost peppers originate from India, a country that knows their spices very well. It is now used in all sorts of things like hot sauces, curries, hot pot, fresh sliced (ouch!) etc. Start slow if not familiar with these guys, they hurt.
Extremely high heat level. 800,000+ SHU
Scorpion Pepper: Any guesses how this one got its name? Actually it’s not the heat, though the heat is like a scorpion sting we imagine. The end of the pepper has a little tail, looking somewhat like a scorpions tail. Cute. These things are all heat. Slightly hotter than a ghost but not much flavor. If you need super heat without the pepper flavors interfering with the other ingredients in the dish, this is the one. It’s all fire, melting the skin from your mouth hot. Store well away from children and pets.
Extremely high heat level. 1,000,000+ SHU
Carolina Reaper: Carolina reaper is a hybrid slightly less stable than other super-hot chilies like ghost. That said it is the current world record holder for the HOTTEST CHILI PEPPER IN THE WORLD! Not sure what else to say about this other than it should probably require a permit to carry it. These things are beyond hot, no joke. We wear gloves harvesting these and even then get scared s splash of stem juice lands on our skin. I don't even know how to recommend eating this one, it’s just too hot. It is probably best used in hot sauce, which is where we sell most of our fresh peppers to....Keep well away from children and pets.
Extremely high heat level. 1,600,000 SHU