Finding Your Heat Tolerance: Exploring the Different Spicy Levels of Peppers
Peppers come in a variety of heat levels, and it can be difficult to accurately categorize them. To help narrow down searches for users, one suggestion is to assign varieties to a reasonable number of heat levels. This could include Sweet (<100 SHU), Mild (100 - 2500 SHU), Medium Hot (2500-50,000 SHU), Hot (50,000 - 500,000 SHU) and Ultra Hot (500,000+ SHU).
However, while researching this idea online, I found that there are several different scales being used. Two of these were close to the suggested list above, except for setting the Hot level at 30,000 - 350,000 SHU. Are these reasonable choices?
In my opinion, the Medium Hot category is too broad. Anything over 2500 SHU would take too much time weeding through undesired peppers in that range. Don suggests factoring in how peppers are used as well; cooked peppers can lose their heat factor when compared to eating them fresh off the plant. He also brings up an interesting point about individual taste; what may seem like no heat at all to one person could be extremely hot to another.
My own scale looks like this: Sweet (<100 SHU), Mild (100 - 2500 SHU), Medium to Hot (2500-5000 SHU) and Too Darn Hot (5001+). Heat is subjective and personal; when you reach the point where you’re unwilling to go any higher on the scale, how much higher doesn’t matter.
No two peppers from the same plant will ever have the same numerical rating either. A 499,999 SHU pepper might be considered Hot by some standards, but a 500,001 SHU pepper could be Ultra Hot according to others. Even with a numerical rating system, other factors such as unexpected visitors or acid reflux after swallowing can affect your experience with a pepper’s heat level.
Ultimately, enjoy your insanely hot peppers without worrying about numbers. Everyone has their own preference and tolerance for heat – find yours and stick with it!
What is the suggested pepper heat level scale?
Sweet (<100 SHU), Mild (100 - 2500 SHU), Medium Hot (2500-50,000 SHU), Hot (50,000 - 500,000 SHU) and Ultra Hot (500,000+ SHU).
Are these reasonable choices for the pepper heat level scale?
It depends on individual preferences. Some people may find the Medium Hot category too broad and would consider researching a pepper at the 2500-7500 range. Others may have different opinions.
How can one measure the heat of a pepper?
Heat rating is an individual thing. One can measure by intensity and duration, and also level of tears rolling down their cheeks. Generally, it takes about 20,000 - 50,000 Scoville Units to get the tearing going and up to 100,000-350,000 for an intense burning sensation.
Is it possible to accurately judge the pain of a pepper over 250,000 SHU?
No scale will ever likely be term accurate as no two peppers from the same plant at different stages will be at the same numerical scale. Even the pain from a 400,000 SHU pepper likely couldn't be accurately judged against the pain of a 600,000 SHU pepper.
What is your personal heat scale?
Sweet (<100 SHU), Mild (100 - 2500 SHU), Medium to Hot (2500-5000 SHU) and Too Darn Hot (5001+). Heat is like a speed limit; when you reach the point you're unwilling to go faster, how much faster you can go doesn't matter.