- Growing Chillies
- Trinidad Scorpion Hottest Pepper
- Easy to Grow Chili Trinidad Scorpion
- Buy Hottest Pepper Seeds Here
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper: All About It
- How Hot is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper?
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion – One of the Hottest Chili Peppers in the World
- Growing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers
- Further Resources and Information
- Pepper #34: TRINIDAD MORUGA SCORPION (left) & CAROLINA REAPER (right)
- Moruga Scorpion Vs. Ghost Pepper: PepperScale Showdown
- Moruga Scorpion vs. Ghost Pepper: The heat
- The taste
- Which pepper is easier to find?
- Which pepper has more products made from it?
- Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T”: A World Of Fire
- Super-hot scorpion roots…
- How hot are Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” peppers?
- What do they look like and taste like?
- How was the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” named?
- How can you use “Butch T” chilies?
- Where can you buy Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” peppers?
- The Complete Guide to the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper
- What is the Trinidad Scorpion?
- Trinidad Scorpion versus Carolina Reaper
- The Scoville Heat Scale
- The Trinidad Scorpion at a Glance
- Cooking with the Trinidad Scorpion
- Health Benefits of the Trinidad Scorpion
- How Trinidad Scorpions Grow
- Interest in Trinidad Scorpion Peppers Over Time
- Sonoran Spice Trinidad Scorpion Products
Trinidad Scorpion Hottest Pepper
We are often asked, what is the hottest pepper in the world? When it comes to the world’s hottest pepper that can give you goose bumps and turn you red, nothing can beat Trinidad Scorpion Chilli. This exceptionally hot chilli pepper is especially grown in Australia and is a Capsicum Chinese cultivar. Trinidad scorpion Chili is one of the hottest peppers in the world. As is evident from the name, this species is indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago, hence sometimes referred to as the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chili. Being one of the world’s hottest peppers, it finds its use in a number of chili sauce companies. The pointed ends of the pepper apparently resemble a scorpion’s stinger and hence the name scorpion.
This chilli is so hot on the pepper scale that you might have to wear protective gear while using this in your food. Without wearing gloves, you might have to endure pumping heat for a couple of days. Also, if you eat this spicy pepper, you can feel your mouth going numb.
Hottest Chili Pepper Uses
- Trinidad Scorpion contains capsaicin that is of immense use for people suffering from skin disease like psoriasis to inflammation and itching.
- This ingredient also helps in suppressing appetite, according to some research.
- Capsaicin also helps in preventing the growth of prostate cancer cells.
- This is also used to cure arthritis pain as well as neuropathic pain.
- This red hot chilli can also be beneficial for curing and treating ear infections. According to a study, this also helps in treating heartburn.
Easy to Grow Chili Trinidad Scorpion
If you are ready to grow some of the reasonably spiciest and hottest peppers in your backyard, then you should definitely go for Trinidad Scorpion chilli. Also, you can easily grow this chilli in your garden and take up this exciting project. The process is not at all complicated and mainly involves planting, watering and harvesting. All the more, growing Trinidad Scorpion chili is an easy and inexpensive project.
- So, as an initial step, you need to fill up a tray with Trinidad Scorpion seeds. Plant the hot chili pepper seeds carefully at a depth of ¼ inch in the tray. You have to plant them almost 10 weeks prior to the last expected cold frost. Following this, water the pepper seeds properly with hot or lukewarm water right after planting the seeds.
- Your next step would be to place this tray somewhere with a temperature of 85 degrees F or 30 degrees C and with sound air circulation. The tray should be uncovered. At this chili sprouting stage, temperature becomes more important than light. Hence, place the tray in a dark area. Maintain moisture around the young plants and seeds. The chili pepper soil should not be soggy or wet.
- After the Trinidad scorpion seeds have sprouted, move the seedlings to somewhere where they can get access to 10 hours of sunlight. Here, maintain a temperature of 70 degrees F or 22 degrees C.
- Now, plant the chili seedlings in your backyard 2 weeks following the last cold weather. By now, the plants must have grown to 12 inches high. The planting bed should get complete sunlight and the temperature should be between 60 to 95 degrees F or 15-35 C. If there are hotter areas in garden, put the growing chili peppers in shade. Maintain a space of 2 feet between the pepper plants in the planting bed.
- Now it’s time to fertilize the chili peppers sprinkle granular fertiliser (5-10-10) alongside the rows of chilli plants after they have blossomed. Fertiliser will provide the essential nutrition for the pepper plants to grow fully.
- To water your chili plants do so in the early evening or in morning, water your pepper plants well with sprinkler or watering can to simulate rainfall. Maintain dampness in the soil without getting them soggy.
- The final stage is to harvest your chili peppers which can occur approximately 40-100 days following the planting of the chili seeds. By now, the young peppers will grow green, yellow and then red. So, now they are ready to be picked.
For best results, provide rainwater or non-chlorinated water to your chili pepper plants. However, care needs to be taken while planting the hot pepper seeds. It’s highly necessary to wear latex gloves and wash hands with soap after planting them.
Buy Hottest Pepper Seeds Here
Check out our other great range of chili seeds!!
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper: All About It
The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world, measuring in at over 2 Million Scoville Heat Units. Learn all about it at ChiliPepperMadness.com.
Scoville Heat Units: 2,009,231 SHU
In February 2012, the 2012 New Mexico Chile Conference, in association with Jim Duffy of Refining Fire Chiles, announced that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is the hottest chili pepper in the world. Clocking in at 2,009,231 Scoville Units, this chili pepper is beyond blistering.
The Moruga Scorpion is indigenous to the Moruga region of Trinidad and Tobago.
How Hot is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper?
In the study, the overall mean heat was measured at more than 1.2 million Scoville Heat Units, the highest measuring at over 2 Million SHU on the Scoville Scale. Compare that to a typical jalapeno pepper, which averages about 5,000 Scoville Heat Units, and the hottest Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper is more than 400 times hotter. That is quite hot! Belonging to the collection of “superhots”, the Moruga Chili Pepper is used in a number of hot sauce products.
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion – One of the Hottest Chili Peppers in the World
The research team in New Mexico planted about 125 plants of each variety of the current “hottest peppers,” including the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the Trinidad Scorpion, the 7-Pot, the Chocolate 7-Pot and the previous record holder, the Bhut Jolokia.
Once the plants were grown and the peppers matured, the researchers chose a number of fruits from the plants. They dried them and ground them to powder. They were then tested for their levels of Capsaicinoids.
The capsaicin of these blistering peppers actually wore through multiple pairs of latex gloves that the researchers wore while picking the peppers. They went through about 4 pairs each.
One of the most significant points that chile pepper experts are making is that the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is a non-hybrid, stable variety. Therefore, it produces more quantity and grows more easily that the Butch T, for example.
It is estimated that “chiliheads” will soon start buying seeds and plants to grow their own Moruga Scorpions. Although few are willing to actually eat a whole chili, (and it’s not recommended), the Moruga Scorpion is said to have a great flavor that, if used in smaller amounts, could make deliciously addictive barbeque sauce or hot sauce.
Because the heat of all peppers can vary greatly, many also say that the growing conditions in New Mexico where the study was conducted are perfect for producing scorching peppers, and that it would be difficult to replicate that pepper heat in most other growing conditions. Therefore, people growing them at home probably wouldn’t get peppers on the high end of the Scoville rating, but would they really notice? It’s still going to be scorching and it should have the same flavor, so it could still be worth it to grow them at home.
Growing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers
The red moruga plants grow tall and upright, and produce a good number of chilies, which mature from green to orange to bright red. The pod skins are not smooth but bumpy, reflecting their hornery heat, and are similar in shape to habanero or scotch bonnets, which are more familiar.
The previous record holder was the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili pepper. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was the world record holder until it was defeated by the Carolina Reaper.
Currently, the Carolina Reaper is the Hottest Chili Pepper in the World.
Further Resources and Information
- Super Hot Peppers List
- List of Chili Pepper Types
- List of the World Hottest Peppers
- What is Pepper X?
- Trinidad Scorpion Butch T
- Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Products at Amazon (seeds, hot sauces, more) – affiliate link, my friends
Pepper #34: TRINIDAD MORUGA SCORPION (left) & CAROLINA REAPER (right)
SCOVILLE HEAT UNIT . . . . . . . . . = . . . . . . PEPPER / CHILI
1,570,000 – 2,2000,000 = Carolina Reaper
1,500,000 – 2,000,000 = Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, Pepper Spray,
855,000 – 1,463,700 = Trinidad Scorpion Butch T , Naga Viper, Bhut Jolokia, Bedfordshire Super Naga
350,000 – 580,000 = Red Savina Habanero
100,000 – 350,000 = Habanero, Scotch Bonnet , Datil , Rocoto, Peruvian White Habanero,
50,000 – 100,000 = Byadgi , Bird’s Eye, Malagueta ,Chiltepin , Pequin , Sichuan
30,000 – 50,000 = Guntur , Cayenne , Ají , Tabasco , Cumari
10,000 – 23,000 = Serrano , Peter , Aleppo
3,500 – 8,000 = Espelette , Jalapeño , Chipotle, Guajillo , Hungarian Wax , Tabasco Sauce
1,000 – 2,500 = Anaheim , Poblano , Rocotillo , Peppadew
100 – 900 = Pimento, Peperoncini, Banana
MILD = Bell , Cubanelle, Aji dulce
On November 14, 2013, “Carolina Reaper” pepper grown by
Smokin’ Ed Currie
The Puckerbutt Pepper Company
Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
with a 1,569,300 – 2,200,000 SHU rating dethroned the reigning champion Trinidad Muruga Scorpion to become Guinness’ “Hottest Chili in the world”.
Tests were conducted by Winthrop University, Rock Hill, South Carolina, USA throughout 2012.
To make sure that the Peppers in this picture would be from genuine stock, seeds were purchased from the Chili Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA.
Comparison of 2 varieties.
left = Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
right = Carolina Reaper
Ghosh Grove, Rockledge, Florida, USA.
Moruga Scorpion Vs. Ghost Pepper: PepperScale Showdown
Now here are two hot peppers that will send your taste buds screaming into a new zip code. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion vs. ghost pepper. Which one is hottest? Can you buy them fresh, or are there at least spicy products out there that use these titans of the pepper scale?
Let’s stack these chili peppers side-by-side and see what we’ve got in a PepperScale Showdown. One thing is for sure, neither of these chilies are for the timid.
Moruga Scorpion vs. Ghost Pepper: The heat
Let’s say this outright, neither of these hot peppers should be trifled with without knowing what you’re getting into beforehand and taking the right precautions for handling. These are super-hot peppers with only the likes of the Carolina Reaper above them on the Scoville scale. But that’s not to say there isn’t a significant heat difference between the Moruga Scorpion and the ghost pepper (also known as Bhut Jolokia).
Ghost peppers range from 855,000 to 1,041,427 Scoville heat units (SHU) on the pepper scale. Scorpion peppers range from 1,200,000 SHU to 2,000,000 SHU. So that makes two things true:
- The hottest ghost pepper will always be milder than the mildest Trinidad Moruga Scorpion
- The hottest Scorpion pepper will always be more than twice as hot as the mildest ghost pepper
That’s crazy heat, no matter where you look. For perspective, habanero peppers are hot, and they max out at 350,000 SHU tops. We are talking pepper heat easily double that and up to seven times the pungency. Still, the Moruga Scorpion is the no doubt heat winner between the two.
An important thing to note on the heat: Ghost pepper heat is more of a slow burn than the Scorpion pepper. You’ll get a more immediate burning sensation from the Moruga Scorpion, whereas the ghost pepper is like a pot boiling over – it takes time for it to build.
It’s a tough call to judge taste between the two. At this level of heat, the pungency is a very large part of the taste. Plus, most people will only ever taste these super-hot peppers as part of hot sauces and salsas with many other ingredients in them.
That said – both have a surprising amount of sweet fruitiness to them. The ghost pepper’s sweetness has a touch more smokiness to it, while the Trinidad Scorpion’s taste has more of the brightness of a Thai chili pepper.
Which pepper is easier to find?
You can’t find either at your local store, and there’s a good reason for that. Just touching either of these peppers with your bare fingers can cause burning and numbness, even blisters. If these peppers were just sitting around at your general grocer, that’d be a lawsuit just waiting to happen. Really, both of these hot peppers are too hot for the general public; they won’t typically have the necessary knowledge to handle these peppers with care. Gloves are a must, and when cooking with them many people opt for eye protection and a protective mask just to make sure the extreme heat doesn’t get into the eyes or mouth.
If you want to experiment with cooking with these peppers raw, your best bet may be to grow them yourself. You can pick up seeds and plants online and at some specialty gardening stores. Or you may luck out at specialty food shops. The ghost pepper will be easier to come across.
Your other (and perhaps better) option is to pick up dried chilies to work with; those are much easier to find (and work with) for both peppers, and they are great for adding extreme heat to hot sauces and wickedly spicy meals.
Which pepper has more products made from it?
Now here both the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and the ghost pepper are both winners, but one does come out on top. There are lots of extreme hot sauces, chili rubs, salsas, and more out there for both of them, but overall, you’ll see a lot more ghost pepper products around. That’s due to the slightly lesser heat, but also the rock star status the ghost pepper has acquired over time. It’s one of the most well-known hot peppers out there.
Rarely do supermarkets carry heat at this level, but again they are very available online or look for any specialty stores or hot sauce shops in your area.
These two peppers contain serious extreme heat. There are differences in pungency and taste, but really neither is a pepper to take on lightly without building up your taste palate. That’s the great equalizer between the two – that mega-heat.
Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T”: A World Of Fire
Super-hot scorpion roots…
Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” fast facts:
- Scoville heat units (SHU): 800,000 – 1,463,700 SHU
- Median heat: 1,131,850 SHU
- Origin: Australia
- Capsicum species: Chinense
- Jalapeño reference scale: 100 to 585 times hotter
- Use: Culinary
- Size: Approximately 1 to 2 inches long, bulbous, pock-marked, stinger-like tail
- Flavor: Sweet, Fruity
A strain of the infamous Trinidad Scorpion pepper, the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” was once the hottest pepper in the world – holding the Guinness Book of World Records title in 2011. This is truly a global strain, crossing Trinidad, the United States, and Australia as the “Butch T” came into being.
Of course holding the title of “World’s Hottest Chili Pepper” is often a fleeting thing. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and later the Carolina Reaper – with their 2,000,000 SHU heat – soon surpassed the “Butch T”, but the legend of this strain – and its global origin story – was born. It’s still widely sought after by extreme eaters for its mega-heat, fruity flavor, and wicked looks.
How hot are Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” peppers?
Like all super-hots of this caliber, the “Butch T” is like a culinary solar flare – not to be eaten raw (or without a lot of dilution). They can reach just above 1.4 million Scoville heat units (SHU) at their peak, though there are many “Butch T” that fall within the ghost pepper heat range of 800,000 to 1,000,000 SHU. Compared to our jalapeño reference point, that’s 100 to 585 times hotter than a jalapeño.
Comparing the “Butch T” to the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion: The Moruga Scorpion can reach near Carolina Reaper heights – close to 2 million SHU, though that’s not the norm. They tend to sit around 1.2 to 1.3 million SHU more often than not, and they rarely fall below 1.2 million. The “Butch T” Scorpion strain is often hotter than your typical Moruga Scorpion, but its floor is also much lower, so expect many instances where the “Butch T” is the milder option.
Of course, this is like arguing the sharpness of two master blades. Either one will cut you plenty deep, and so it goes for either the Moruga Scorpion or the “Butch T” and their heat. Take extreme caution with the handling of either chili.
What do they look like and taste like?
As the “Butch T” is a strain, they share the same appearance as other Scorpion peppers. They grow to one to two inches in length with a bulbous, wrinkly appearance. And there’s that stinger. Scorpion peppers have a pronounced point, like a stinger, that certainly give them an edgy, dangerous look. In terms of color, these chilies age from green to yellow/orange to red – the typical pepper maturation pattern.
Taste-wise, like most super-hots there’s a sweetness here – a fruity undertone that you can taste before the heat really hits. Scorpion pepper heat tends to come on faster than that of some other super-hots (like the slow-burning ghost pepper), so the fruitiness is short-lived. When the spiciness hits, it hits hard and becomes the real predominant flavor.
How was the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” named?
Some chilies are regional and their story has a narrow focus, while others are more worldly. The Scorpion “Butch T” falls into the latter camp. Scorpion peppers are originally from the Trinidad and Tobago region of the Caribbean. “Butch T” is short for Butch Taylor – the original creator of this strain. Butch is from Mississippi and the founder of Zydeco Hot Sauce.
The chili was then commercially named by Neil Smith, from The Hippy Seed Company, and Marcel de Wit, from the Chilli Factory, both in Australia. Shared chili seeds are often marked in plastic bags with the type followed by the first name and last initial of the propagator – hence “Butch T” which was then marked as the name when tested for overall heat.
How can you use “Butch T” chilies?
As with other super-hots, these peppers are truly the focus of extreme eaters. Super-spicy hot sauces are a favorite and “Butch T” powders are available to heighten the heat of just about anything. But, as mentioned, extreme care must be taken. Chilies of this heat cause serious chili burn. Wear kitchen gloves and goggles when using, and know-how to combat chili burn if it occurs.
Where can you buy Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” peppers?
You can find “Butch T” pepper seeds, powders, and hot sauces widely available online. It’s not a chili pepper you’ll often find in brick and mortar stores – it’s just too spicy for the masses.
If you’re one for extreme super-hot chili peppers, the Trinidad Scorpion “Butch T” pepper should be part of your vernacular. While it has been overshadowed by hotter chilies, it has the record-book pedigree few others enjoy and the wicked scorpion pepper look that just fits with the overwhelming heat.
Scoville RatingNew Mexico Scorpion Pepper : 1,400,000 -1,191,595 SHU
Registering an incredible 1,400,000 – 1,191,595 SHU the New Mexico Scorpion Pepper packs a wallop of fiery heat. This super-pepper species is a hybrid species and combines the best traits of the Frutescens and Chinese capsicums. Its ferociously high heat factor has given it the world’s record title for being the hottest of all chili peppers. Normal availability of fresh Scorpion peppers are the spring and summer months.
The New Mexico Scorpion Pepper is grown by a man named Jim Duffy who is renowned for growing extremely hot chilies and growing the hottest chilies on record in 2010. The New Mexico Scorpion Pepper is actually a pepper derived from the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper grown by Jim and passed down to a man named Marlin Bensinger, who was a chemical engineer and an expert in capsaicin science. Bensinger cultivated the Trinidad Scorpion Peppers, given to him by Jim, at his home in New Mexico. They were grown from September through November 2010 and were tested to rate higher than any chili the world at 1,191,545 SHU. This is hotter than the Bhut Jolokia or the Ghost Pepper, but significantly less than the hottest pepper of today in the year 2014.
Scorpion pepper varieties are native to the Trinidad islands. Hot climates stress the plants and help ratchet up the amount of heat that the pods are going to produce. Although these plants can thrive in almost any suitably warm, dry climate they perform best in the hottest environments.
Don’t let the small size of these pepper pods fool you. These petite peppers have more than enough heat to satisfy the palate of any dedicated foodie. In fact the taste can overwhelm many stalwart chili fans who believe that they can “beat the heat”.
The New Mexico Scorpion peppers are grown primarily in New Mexico, but many growers are attempting to grow these hardy plants in their own gardens. The plants produce pods that are about 3 inches long and 1/4-1″ wide.
The appearance of these pepper pods can be green, red, orange or a combination of these colors. Typically they are going to have the strongest heat rating when the chili peppers are allowed to mature and display a vivid shade of crimson. The blossom end is curved and has a distinctive point which gives the pod its notable “Scorpion” silhouette.
These little peppers should have a vibrant color with a smooth and shiny skin. Many will have some lengthwise grooves that add character and whimsy to their appearance. The flesh should have a firm texture that indicates the pods are fresh. As a word of warning to the unwary all parts of these peppers can be eaten and all parts are extremely hot. Even if you remove the interior ribs and seeds the outer surface is still going to have enough heat power to make you sweat.
These are delightful peppers to use in the kitchen, but you must be careful when preparing or cooking them. The oils and cooking odors can sting and irritate eyes, mouth and nose. Some people have even claimed that the pepper oil creates a slight burning sensation of the fingers and hands (if skin is not protected by gloves).
Use New Mexico Scorpion peppers in stews and sauces. Many individuals also enjoy adding the diced peppers to a favorite salsa or chili recipe. The potent peppers should always be used judiciously so as not to overwhelm the flavors of your dishes. You can also infuse the hot flavor into vinegars or oil by sautéing small amounts of these pepper pods.
How accurate is this article? We are striving to become the ultimate resource for information on peppers, and if you notice any inaccuracies, or want to contribute content, please contact us.
Photo Credit: We Need One!
In this series, Life’s Little Mysteries provides expert answers to challenging questions.
Stand aside, Bhut Jolokia: You’re old hat. A recent study crowned the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion the new world’s hottest chili pepper, with some specimens of this piquant plant registering more than 2 million Scoville heat units (SHU). That means each little bundle of joy packs the heat of roughly 400 jalapeños.
If that’s difficult to envision, get this: Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers contain about as much capsaicin — the chemical compound in peppers that makes them burn by activating heat receptors in human nerve endings — as a shot glass full of law enforcement-grade pepper spray. Yummy! So, what does it feel like to eat one?
Life’s Little Mysteries asked Paul Bosland, professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University and director of the Chile Pepper Institute. Bosland and colleagues recently identified the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion as hottest of all the varieties of Capsicum chinense peppers — the species that also includes the previous world record holder for hotness, Bhut Jolokia, as well as the closely related Trinidad Scorpion pepper.
Based on his descriptions, it’s unclear which would be worse: Popping a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper in your mouth, or popping an actual scorpion in your mouth.
When you eat a reasonably spicy pepper, your mouth goes numb, Bosland said. That’s a pain response. “What’s happening is that your receptors in your mouth are sending a signal to your brain that there’s pain, and it’s in the form of hotness or heat, and so your brain produces endorphins to block that pain,” he explained.
When you eat an unreasonably spicy Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper, on the other hand, numbness doesn’t cut it. Your body steps up its defense mechanisms by instantaneously inflating liquid-filled balloons of sorts inside your oral cavity. “You would typically get blistering in your mouth and your throat as you were swallowing,” Bosland said. By putting these high-heat-capacity cushions (blisters) under the top layer of your skin, your body is attempting to absorb heat entering through that layer. “The body is sensing a burn, and it’s sacrificing the top layer of cells to say, ‘OK, they’re going to die now to prevent letting the heat get farther into the body.'”
But in the case of Trinidad Moruga Scorpions, even blisters don’t stop the burn. These peppers contain so much capsaicin that the chemical permeates the blisters and keeps activating receptors in the nerve endings underneath, causing ferocious burning sensations for 20 minutes or more, Bosland said.
What behavioral effect would this drawn-out torture have? As several YouTube videos attest, it makes even the most seasoned chili aficionados beg for their mommies. Pepper tasters end up vomiting, washing their mouths out with cheese whiz and shoving cheesecake up their noses. (Dairy products contain casein, a protein that surrounds and neutralizes the capsaicin compounds in chili peppers.)
But a day or so after eating one of these super hot peppers, your mouth would return to normal, Bosland said. How much Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper would you have to eat to actually die? Based on a 1980 study that calculated the lethal dosage of capsaicin, Bosland estimates that 2.7 pounds (1.2 kilograms) of the peppers would cause enough stomach and intestinal tissue inflammation to kill a 150-pound (68-kg) person.
Of course, peppers don’t kill people, people kill people. Capsaicin only inflames human cells because heat-detecting proteins in our nerve endings called TRPV1 receptors become activated in the chemical’s presence, mistakenly interpreting capsaicin as a sign of extreme heat, and sending the body’s burn defenses into overdrive. As proof that it’s our own fault chili peppers hurt so much, Bosland said he knows three people in the world who completely lack TRPV1 receptors, “and they don’t taste chili heat at all.”
Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover or Life’s Little Mysteries @llmysteries. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.
The Complete Guide to the Trinidad Scorpion Pepper
Table of Contents
Spead the Love
What is the Trinidad Scorpion?
The Trinidad Scorpion is a variety of the Capsicum chinense species, which is the bonnet family of peppers. The Trinidad Scorpion strongly resembles the habanero and the Scotch Bonnet—but the Trinidad Scorpion has both of these peppers beat with its extreme heat!
Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper Habanero Pepper
Trinidad Scorpion versus Carolina Reaper
Second place may generally be considered a losing position, but in the case of the World’s Hottest Peppers, that’s not necessarily true. The Trinidad Scorpion is currently second on the World’s Hottest Pepper list. It has an average rating of 1,200,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) with the hottest Trinidad Scorpions measuring 2,009,231 SHU. Currently, the number one spot belongs to the Carolina Reaper, which has a max of 2,200,000 SHU and has an average of 1,641,000 SHU. So, although the Carolina Reaper is generally hotter than the Trinidad Scorpion, sometimes the Trinidad Scorpion wins for heat. It really just depends on the time and place of measurement. They are typically neck-and-neck competitors.
The Scoville Heat Scale
Scoville Heat Units help measure the pungency of hot peppers. Pepper enthusiasts have been using it for over a century to rate the hottest pepper, long before Guinness invented their Top 10 World’s Hottest Pepper list. The greater the number of Scoville Heat Units the more intense the heat.
Hot peppers get their heat from the capsaicin oil, which is extracted and then tested to come up with a SHU rating. The capsaicin oil is housed in the placenta portion of the fruit. The Trinidad Scorpion is pretty much just a placenta, which makes it especially spicy. It’s impossible to escape the capsaicin burn.
The heat from the Trinidad Scorpion builds. You won’t taste it much at first, but eventually, the heat will hit you, and you’ll understand why the pepper has such an impressive Scoville rating. Although the Trinidad Scorpion underwent testing at New Mexico State University’s Chili Pepper Institute in 2012, it was never certified as World’s Hottest Pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records. Aside from the extreme heat, the Trinidad Scorpion has hints of fruity, almost sweet flavor. There are also floral notes, but it might be hard to detect any flavor in the midst of its extreme heat.
The Trinidad Scorpion at a Glance
The Trinidad scorpion has glossy, smooth skin with grooves that run from the top to the bottom of the pepper. Like the Carolina Reaper, the Trinidad Scorpion has a long, thin tail at the bottom of the pepper. It bears a strong resemblance to a scorpion’s tail. This is exactly where the pepper gets its name!
As the pepper grows, it changes from green to golden yellow to red. As the pepper progresses through each of these three colors, its heat continues to increase. The hottest Trinidad Scorpions are fiery red. Trinidad Scorpions are small peppers that measure between one-half to one-inch wide by two to three inches long. These peppers have a squatty, pod-like shape that looks like other bonnet peppers.
Cooking with the Trinidad Scorpion
If you’re going to cook with a Trinidad Scorpion, exercise caution. Wear gloves while handling and chopping the pepper. Sometimes you might need two pairs just to be on the safe side. Even though your hands are the only part of you that should come into contact with the Trinidad Scorpion, you should cover as much of your skin as possible. Wear long-sleeves, protective goggles, and a mask for maximum protection. You should take the same safety precautions if you’re cooking with Trinidad Scorpion pepper flakes or some other spice derived from Trinidad Scorpion. If what you’re cooking will produce a lot of smoke or steam, a mask will protect you from inhaling too much of the dangerous heat.
Chopped Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers
When you’re finished chopping and handling the pepper, wash your hands immediately. Be careful not to absentmindedly touch your face or rub your eyes. Keep the windows open to keep the air moving. Just breathing in the peppers can cause damage.
If you want to amp up the heat in one of your favorite recipes, the Trinidad Scorpion is the perfect way to do it. Just make sure that if the recipe calls for a traditional (i.e. milder) hot pepper, tone down the measurements of the pepper. Usually, you only need one Trinidad Scorpion to heat up your favorite recipe. Ordinarily, you could remove some of the inner flesh of the pepper to make the heat more bearable. But with the Trinidad Scorpion, that’s pretty much impossible. The seeds also pack a big punch, so removing them will help you tone down the heat a little.
You can add a Trinidad Scorpion to pretty much any recipe that calls that for hot peppers. Chili, salsa, guacamole, and barbeque sauce are some classic hot pepper dishes that are exceptionally good with Trinidad Scorpions. These peppers make great hot sauces and spice rubs. But don’t forget that they aren’t for the faint of heart! If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to take the heat, have a glass of milk at the ready to extinguish a potential fire. A dairy product like yogurt or cheese will also successfully extinguish the Trinidad’s Scorpion sting.
Health Benefits of the Trinidad Scorpion
If you can get past the intense heat, you’ll be rewarded! The Trinidad Scorpion has many great health benefits, like its fellow hot peppers. You’ll experience a pleasant rush of endorphins when you’re eating a hot pepper. This will boost your mood and make you feel happy. As surprising as it may sound, hot peppers are actually great for your digestive tract. If you tend to get ulcers, you may have been told you should avoid spicy foods. But hot peppers can actually be good for you if you have an ulcer. If you have an upset stomach, reach for Trinidad Scorpion (or at least use it in a favorite recipe). It’s a natural, successful stomach settler.
How Trinidad Scorpions Grow
You can thank farmer Wahid Ogeer for breeding the first Trinidad Scorpion in Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago. These peppers are harvested between the late spring and early summer. You’ll obviously find these peppers with ease in Trinidad and Tobago, but they are also common in the Americas and Australia. These plants grow in mildly warm temperatures and super-hot ones. The best weather for growing Trinidad Peppers is around eighty degrees Fahrenheit (thirty degrees Celsius). As a general rule, the hotter the weather, the hotter the pepper the climate will produce. The plants that bear Trinidad Scorpions produce hundreds of chili pods.
Although this pepper may fall just short of the World’s Hottest Pepper, we don’t think that this pepper is lacking anything! Trinidad Scorpions are super-hot and beloved by chili heads all over the world. They are packed with health benefits and, best of all, they taste great!
Interest in Trinidad Scorpion Peppers Over Time
Sonoran Spice Trinidad Scorpion Products
We offer a wide range of Trinidad Scorpion pepper products from peppers, powder, & flakes to candies, popcorn, jerky and more.
YouTube:Trinidad Scorpion Moruga: paulmtonkin
Trinidad Scorpion Pepper Products
Sonoran Spice Blog – Scoville Scale Guide