Welsh farmer Mike Smith has grown a chili pepper that appears to have smashed all previous heat records. Smith developed the super-spicy pepper with researchers at the University of Nottingham, with the goal of using it as a numbing agent. The Dragon’s Breath pepper is way too hot to eat. In fact, it earned a score of 2.48 million on the Scoville heat scale, which measures the concentration of capsaicin, the chemical that produces the numbing sensation of spice in peppers. Dragon's Breath is significantly hotter than the current hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, which packs a wallop of 1.6 million on the Scoville scale, and it contains more capsaicin than the pepper spray used by the U.S. military.
Not such a hot idea:
- A habanero pepper clocks in at 350,000 on the Scoville scale. The jalapeño is tame in comparison, coming in at 8,000, according to PepperScale, a hot pepper blog.
- Eating an ultra-hot pepper can cause blisters -- or even severe burns -- in areas exposed to the concentrated capsaicin, particularly in the mouth and throat.
- In some extreme cases, eating an incredibly hot pepper can lead to anaphylactic shock -- an event that could be deadly if left untreated.