Registering an incredible 1,400,000 – 1,191,595 SHU the New Mexico Scorpion Pepper packs a wallop of fiery heat. This super-pepper species is a hybrid species and combines the best traits of the Frutescens and Chinese capsicums. Its ferociously high heat factor has given it the world’s record title for being the hottest of all chili peppers. Normal availability of fresh Scorpion peppers are the spring and summer months.
The New Mexico Scorpion Pepper is grown by a man named Jim Duffy who is renowned for growing extremely hot chilies and growing the hottest chilies on record in 2010. The New Mexico Scorpion Pepper is actually a pepper derived from the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper grown by Jim and passed down to a man named Marlin Bensinger, who was a chemical engineer and an expert in capsaicin science. Bensinger cultivated the Trinidad Scorpion Peppers, given to him by Jim, at his home in New Mexico. They were grown from September through November 2010 and were tested to rate higher than any chili the world at 1,191,545 SHU. This is hotter than the Bhut Jolokia or the Ghost Pepper, but significantly less than the hottest pepper of today in the year 2014.
Scorpion pepper varieties are native to the Trinidad islands. Hot climates stress the plants and help ratchet up the amount of heat that the pods are going to produce. Although these plants can thrive in almost any suitably warm, dry climate they perform best in the hottest environments.
Don’t let the small size of these pepper pods fool you. These petite peppers have more than enough heat to satisfy the palate of any dedicated foodie. In fact the taste can overwhelm many stalwart chili fans who believe that they can “beat the heat”.
The New Mexico Scorpion peppers are grown primarily in New Mexico, but many growers are attempting to grow these hardy plants in their own gardens. The plants produce pods that are about 3 inches long and 1/4-1″ wide.
The appearance of these pepper pods can be green, red, orange or a combination of these colors. Typically they are going to have the strongest heat rating when the chili peppers are allowed to mature and display a vivid shade of crimson. The blossom end is curved and has a distinctive point which gives the pod its notable “Scorpion” silhouette.
These little peppers should have a vibrant color with a smooth and shiny skin. Many will have some lengthwise grooves that add character and whimsy to their appearance. The flesh should have a firm texture that indicates the pods are fresh. As a word of warning to the unwary all parts of these peppers can be eaten and all parts are extremely hot. Even if you remove the interior ribs and seeds the outer surface is still going to have enough heat power to make you sweat.
These are delightful peppers to use in the kitchen, but you must be careful when preparing or cooking them. The oils and cooking odors can sting and irritate eyes, mouth and nose. Some people have even claimed that the pepper oil creates a slight burning sensation of the fingers and hands (if skin is not protected by gloves).
Use New Mexico Scorpion peppers in stews and sauces. Many individuals also enjoy adding the diced peppers to a favorite salsa or chili recipe. The potent peppers should always be used judiciously so as not to overwhelm the flavors of your dishes. You can also infuse the hot flavor into vinegars or oil by sautéing small amounts of these pepper pods.
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