The world’s hottest pepper resembles an inappropriate scorpion tail. The surface is crinkled and oily with a loud red color, its seeds rate an average of 1,569,300 Scoville Heat Units — beating out the previous titleholder, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, by more than 300,000 units.
Tested by Winthrop University throughout 2012, the Carolina Reaper grown by Ed Currie of PuckerButt Pepper Co. in South Carolina earned itself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records last month. The Associated Press reports that the record is for the hottest batch of Currie’s peppers tested, filed as HP22B, or “Higher Power, Pot No. 22, Plant B.” The hottest individual Carolina Reaper of the lot weighed in at 2.2 million Scoville Heat Units.
To put things in perspective, a jalapeño pepper has rating of 5,000 on the Scoville scale; ghost peppers clock in at 1 million and pepper spray at 2 million Scoville Units. At more than 1.5 million units, the Carolina Reaper should come with a mini fire extinguisher. Just in case.