|Hybrid parentage||Naga pepper x Habanero|
|Origin||Fort Mill, South Carolina, U.S.|
|Scoville scale||1,641,183 SHU|
The Carolina Reaper is a cultivar of the Capsicum chinense plant. Developed by American breeder Ed Currie, the pepper is red and gnarled, with a bumpy texture and small pointed tail. In 2017, Guinness World Records declared it the hottest chili pepper in the world.
The crossbreed is between a "really nastily hot" La Soufriere pepper from Saint Vincent and a Naga pepper from India, and was named "Reaper" due to the shape of its tail. It has been described as having a fruity taste, with the initial bite being sweet and then immediately turning to "molten lava". The sensory heat or pungency detected when eating a Carolina Reaper derives from the density of capsaicinoids, particularly capsaicin, which relates directly to the intensity of chili pepper heat and Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
The pepper was bred in a greenhouse in Rock Hill, South Carolina, by Ed Currie, proprietor of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company in Fort Mill. It was certified as the world's hottest chili pepper by Guinness World Records on August 11, 2017, surpassing the previous record set by the Trinidad Scorpion "Butch T". The official Guinness World Record heat level was 1,641,183 SHU in 2017, according to tests conducted by Winthrop University in South Carolina. The figure is an average for the tested batch; the hottest individual pepper was measured at 2.2 million SHU.
In May 2017, breeder Mike Smith of St Asaph, Wales, claimed to have surpassed the Carolina Reaper with his Dragon's Breath pepper, developed by Smith alongside Nottingham Trent University and reported to be 2.4 million SHUs; Smith applied to Guinness World Records for confirmation. Four months later, however, Currie claimed to have bred a stronger pepper known as Pepper X with 3.18 million SHUs.
For growing, the pepper has been described as "a good all-rounder to try at home" by English ethnobotanist James Wong, who said that they require temperatures of at least 18 °C (64 °F) and suggested growing in 30–40 cm (12–16 in) pots to restrict growth and produce fruit sooner. When fully ripe, two peppers occupy the palm of the hand.
- ^ "About Us". PuckerButt Pepper Co. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
Smokin' Ed gained the pepper industry's attention in November 2010 when an NPR Reporter stopped by to eat an HP22B pepper–now known as Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper®.
- ^ "Confirmed: Smokin Ed's Carolina Reaper sets new record for hottest chilli". Guinness world records. November 19, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ Zucchino, David (November 27, 2014). "From Pot To Hot: How a grower produced world's most fiery chile pepper". LA Times. Archived from the original on September 30, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
It took 12 years of crossbreeding for Currie to reach the pinnacle of the pepper world. He said he tested hundreds of hybrid combinations before finally crossing a "really nastily hot" La Soufriere pepper from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent and a Naga pepper from Pakistan to create Smokin Ed's Carolina Reaper — "a tidal wave of scorching fire," as the PuckerButt website puts it.
- ^ Tu Chau (August 18, 2016). "Eating the 'Carolina Reaper' pepper is 'like eating molten lava'". Pri. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ a b Smithers, Rebecca (July 16, 2016). "UK shoppers to feel the heat as world's strongest chilli hits the high street". The Guardian. Archived from the original on February 5, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ Nagy, Z; Daood, H; Ambrózy, Z; Helyes, L (2015). "Determination of Polyphenols, Capsaicinoids, and Vitamin C in New Hybrids of Chili Peppers". Journal of Analytical Methods in Chemistry. 2015: 102125. doi:10.1155/2015/102125. PMC 4606152. PMID 26495153.
- ^ "Hottest chili". Guinness World Records. August 11, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ a b Hallock, Betty (December 26, 2013). "World's Hottest Pepper Hits 2.2 Million Scoville Heat Units". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ Collins, Jeffrey (December 26, 2013). "World's Hottest Pepper is Grown in South Carolina". Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 1, 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ "'World's Hottest' Chilli Pepper Grown in St. Asaph". BBC News. May 17, 2017. Archived from the original on October 20, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ Tracey Saelinger (September 29, 2017). "'World's hottest pepper' will make you choke, sweat and cry for mercy". Today. NBC Universal. Archived from the original on October 9, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- ^ Wong, James (February 28, 2016). "Gardens: the hottest chilli ever grown". The Guardian. Archived from the original on March 9, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
- Ed Currie, Breeding the Carolina Reaper – video on YouTube (17 July 2017)