Pepper Profile: The Carolina Reaper

The Carolina Reaper pepper is proof that sometimes leaving it up to nature alone isn’t enough. This pepper crossbreed is a former record holder when it comes to the world’s hottest chili pepper. While it took home the honor several years ago, the Reaper is still seriously hot. First bred in a greenhouse in South Carolina, the average Carolina Reaper far surpasses 1 million SHU, but it has the ability to top more than 2 million SHU. It’s a cross between the ghost pepper and a red habanero pepper; two extremely hot contenders in their own right.

Easily distinguished by its small size and its stinger tail, the Reaper gains its name from its origins and its shape. Reminiscent of a wasp stinger or even a scorpion tail, the Reaper’s definitely not for beginners! It’s usually red and has an almost gnarled appearance. It’s said the very first bite of a Reaper pepper is often sweet and fruity, followed up by a massive dose of heat that seemingly hits you without warning. Don’t be deceived by your first bite, because there’s no doubt this pepper was bred for heat! Some predict the Reaper is hundreds of times hotter than a jalapeno.

For super hot pepper lovers, though, it’s hard to compete with the pure heat delivered by the Reaper. That’s why it’s so popular as a fiery pepper puree, or dished up as a mouth-watering, super hot, hot sauce. No matter how you choose to eat the Carolina Reaper, be prepared for an extremely hot dose of pepper flavor. We wouldn’t recommend starting out your hot pepper or hot sauce trials with the Carolina Reaper, but it’s certainly one to aspire to. Just make sure you’re prepared for an almost earth-shattering dose of heat like you’ve likely never experienced before.


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