Ghost Pepper

jolokia ghost pepperThe ghost pepper, has achieved an almost legendary status amongst chili fans. Also known as the Bhut Jolokia and  Red Naga Chili, the ghost pepper is an intensely hot hybrid cultivated in the Indian states of Nagaland and Assam.

The name ghost chili is a literal translation of Bhut Jolokia in Bengali and initially caused some disagreement as to whether it was a member of the capsicum frutescens or capsicum chinense species. However DNA tests have now shown it to be an interspecies hybrid containing mostly capsicum chinense with some capsicum frutescens.

The Legendary Ghost Pepper

The reason the ghost chile pepper has acquired its legendary status is simply down to the fact that it once held the Guinness world record as the world’s hottest chilli pepper. With Scoville rating varying from 855,000 units to 1,041,427 SCU, it’s one extreme hot pepper.

There are many videos on YouTube showing people eating  ghost peppers with varying degrees of success. Below are a couple of the more entertaining ones.

In 2012, the ghost pepper was superseded by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which weighs in at a mind blowing 2,009,231 Scoville units! To put this into perspective, Tabasco rates at between 2000 and 5,000 Scoville units, a relatively low amount. If you are to try the two side by side, the comparison of hotness in your body will simply blow your mind.

As you can see from the image above, the ghost pepper is typically red yellow or orange when ripened, however a chocolate colour variant is possible to. The ghost pepper fruit measures between 60 to 85 mm long and 25 to 30 mm wide. There are two different fruit types, the more common rough, dented fruit and the smooth fruit. The buds of the Jolokia ghost pepper are unique among Peppers as they have a very characteristic shape and very thin skin.

The pepper obviously has a wide range of uses in cooking, not only to make a dish incredibly spicy, but also to impart a very distinctive taste to food. Hot sauce manufacturers the world over have developed a wide and varied range of ghost pepper sauces, ranging from the alarming to the unbelievable!

Amazingly the ghost pepper has also been suggested for use in hand grenades as a non lethal way to flush out terrorists from hideouts and riot control in India.

If you want to grow these amazing pods, Ghost chili pepper seeds can be purchased online with ease, and we have a wide range of ghost pepper sauce in our own store. When purchasing seeds however, make sure that the seller is reputable and the seeds are you purchasing are not old. If you buy ghost pepper seeds that are just 12 to 18 months old, you may struggle with germination. Ensuring you have the correct grow conditions and soil will see your bhut’s flourish. If you live in a cold region, ensure they are well protected from cold, mix some decent slow release fertiliser into the earth and consider that you may wish to keep them indoors at night.

As a culinary favorite, I love ghost chili pepper powder spice when I am making spicy dishes, but as with everything that contains Bhut Jolokia, beware because the heat is very intense. I strongly advise against playing any form of joke on others using the ghost pepper, as while you are unlikely to cause them any serious harm, they will possibly never forgive you once their stomach has finally recovered!

Finally, if you do decide to try the ghost pepper and quickly realise that the heat is too much (and you will), forget water! Instead head to the fridge and find some milk (or something dairy). This will absorb the heat. As with most fats, the fats in milk, will coat your tongue and throat allowing the heat to decrease much faster.

To find some great chili recipes, visit Food.com