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Lesson 3

A red reaper pepper Don't Move Too Fast

Don’t approach each step as “one and done”. Live at your new heat level for an extended period, until the spiciness becomes more like a normal everyday flavor than a surprising shock to the palate. It should still be spicy tasting, just not immediately uncomfortable. When you’ve reached that comfortable zone with your current level, step things up another notch. Take baby steps – as a guideline, choose chilies no more than double their minimum heat for your next tolerance test. For instance, if you’re comfortable at the fresh jalapeño pepper level (2,500 Scoville heat unit minimum), a good next step would be Hungarian wax peppers (5,000 SHU minimum). And from Hungarian wax, a smart next step is the serrano pepper (10,000 minimum SHU). It won’t work with every jump – and it’s highly dependent on the peppers/hot sauces you can source – but it’s a good way to approach as a guideline. Use our hot pepper list to map out your progress.