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Overcoming Spicy Food

Executive summary

A red cartoon pepper breathing fire

The original process for determining heat level or SHU is actually called the Scoville Organoleptic Test, and it consists of three simple steps: One, take some pepper or sauce and extract and heavily dilute it with water and sugar. Two, give it to a panel of five tasters. Three, ask them how spicy they kind of feel it is. Not very accurate! Now, there is a pepper lab at the University of New Mexico that measures the capsaicin.

The Scoville Scale
Pepper / Sauce Scoville Units
Carolina Reaper 2.2 million
Scorpion Pepper 2 million
Ghost Pepper 1 million
Chocolate Habenero Pepper 580,000
Fatali Pepper 325,000
Habenero Pepper 300,000
Dave's Ultimate Insanity Hot Sauce 250,000
Jalapeno Pepper 2,500
Tabasco Orginal Hot Sauce 2,500
Texas Pete's Hot Sauce 750
Frank's Red Hot Sauce 450

Consider experimenting with other forms of heat. Consider using products like wasabi or horseradish as your training wheels when entering the world of spice. The heat that you get from wasabi is quite different from the heat of a chili pepper. The chemical that provides wasabi’s heat is called allyl isothiocyanate and it is more readily controlled when compared to capsaicin. It is more volatile and will evaporate quickly, which means that the heat from wasabi will start to diminish once it is exposed to air. It is also much easier to wash away allyl isothiocyanate with water, tea or soda than it is to wash away capsaicin.