Think November is all about pumpkins and turkey? Think again. November is National Pepper Month and pepper lovers around the world are celebrating in a big way.
Available in both sweet and spicy varieties, peppers are high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, folic acid, and fiber. They are low in calories and can be prepared in a variety of ways from raw to stuffed to fried. As of November 20, 2013, the Hottest Pepper in the World is the Carolina Reaper with a Scoville Heat Unit measure of 2,200,000. The Reaper is bred for its heat, and its one goal is to keep things spicy. It took writer Matt Gross just 22 seconds to eat three Carolina Reapers (as part of “Smoking Ed’s Carolina Reaper Pepper Guinness Book of Records Eating Challenge), but nearly 14 hours to recover from them.
“Really, all I had to do was wait five or six minutes for the heat to reach a peak. After that, the pain and swelling began to subside, and the endorphin rush began to kick in. I felt great. No: I FELT GREAT! I was bouncing around, full of energy, talking to anyone and everyone I could,” he explained in an essay for Bon Appétit.
After an hour, though, some of the worst heartburn imaginable hit him. “This was heartburn. Really, really, really, really, really bad heartburn — the kind whose symptoms are almost the same as a heart attack’s — but just heartburn all along.” A home remedy of baking soda and water helped relieve the pain. So, does he regret it? No. Would he do it again? Still no.
See, when you love peppers, you love peppers. So, in honor of National Pepper Month, we’re sharing some of the ways chefs, restaurants, and mixologists are celebrating.