A chile grower in the U.K. is defending Carolina Reaper peppers in response to a man who was hospitalized after he ate the extremely spicy chile. Although the man only ate one Carolina Reaper, he experienced dry-heaving and an excruciating “thunderclap headache” caused by restricted arteries in the brain. Apparently, this is the first and only time this has ever happened to someone.
While this may deter you from trying the pepper yourself, farmer Salvatore Genovese — who owns a 7-acre farm called “Love My Chillies” — says he’s sold over 500,000 Carolina Reapers in the past couple years, and no one has ever reported health issues. So long as the Carolina Reaper is cooked and eaten “correctly,” he insists, consumers are good as gold.
“It’s not really designed to… just plonk it in your mouth and eat it… I would never do that and I wouldn’t recommend it,” Genovese told Sky News. “Just cook with it, make a curry, infuse it slowly, take it out if you want to afterwards, and get the rich flavors from that super-hot chile.”
The small, gnarled fruit is “super-hot” indeed. In fact, it rates an astounding 1,569,300 units on average on the Scoville scale (a jalapeño is only 3,500 to 8,000 units). It only makes sense that it was dubbed the hottest chile in the world, surpassing the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” pepper, in 2013.
So how should you eat it? Genovese, who farms in Bedfordshire, suggests consumers treat the pepper the same way one would eat salt.
“You’re not going to take a handful of salt and put it in your food and say, ‘Wow I’ve got a wicked salt kick.’ Just use small amounts, use accordingly,” he told Sky News. Unless you’re Shahina Waseem — Britain’s “Chile Queen.” According to the New York Post, she also defended the pepper, claiming that the pain doesn’t normally last that long, although she sometimes feels as if she’s “dying” for a little.
Over 1.5 million Scoville units might be too hot for those simply looking for a little pep in their taco or something. But you’ll never believe this: Even hotter hot sauces exist. Are you brave enough to try Mad Dog 357? It’s only 9 million Scoville units, no big deal.