Scoville Units

What is a scoville heat unit (SHu) ?

Scoville heat units are the measurement used to determine the pungency, heat or spiciness of a particular chilli or food. Its based on the concentration of capcaisinoids which invoke a heat sensation in humans and animals when eating the chilli fruit.

Named after it's creator, Wilbur Scoville , the original test involved diluting a solution of pepper extract in sugar water until the heating sensation was undetectable to a panel of human tasters. The more water required, the higher the rating. Today a more scientific method called High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is used to measure the heat level , although it is still recorded as Scoville Heat Units.

Each chilli variety has an approximate value of Scoville units although this should always be used as a guide as many factors can affect the heat of your chilli plants fruit, from hours of light , water, growing conditions, feed etc.

Plenty of people have made claims to have grown the hottest pepper ever, and the Guiness Book of Records has plenty of entries including the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost) Pepper from 2007 at 1 million SHu, the Dragon's Breath Chilli  at 2.48 million and Pepper X reported to be 3.18 million SHu !