This Is Earth's Hottest Pepper

...according to Guinness, and it's grown in the US

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 27, 2013 5:31 AM CST | Updated Dec 27, 2013 7:35 AM CST

(Newser) – The Carolina Reaper has taken the title of world's hottest pepper, after a four-year quest to do just that. The Guinness Book of World Records in November handed the honor to Ed Currie, who grows the fire-engine red peppers in South Carolina. The move followed 2012 testing at Winthrop University to determine where Currie's peppers fell in terms of Scoville Heat Units, which measure what it sounds like they should: a pepper's heat. For comparison's sake, a jalapeno clocks in at about 5,000 to 8,000 Scoville Units.

Currie's record-setting batch (code name HP22B for "Higher Power, Pot No. 22, Plant B") measured an average 1,569,300 Scoville Units, with the hottest pepper among the group clocking in at 2.2 million units, reports the AP. That's about 200,000 units beyond pepper spray's measure. The Los Angeles Times reports the ominously named Trinidad Moruga Scorpion was named hottest last year by New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute; its average measurement was roughly 1.2 million units, with the hottest at more than 2 million. Want to test your mettle? You can order hot sauce made from Currie's peppers (with names like "I Dare You Stupit") here.

In this Dec. 12, 2013 photo, Ed Currie holds three Carolina Reaper peppers, in Fort Mill, SC.
In this Dec. 12, 2013 photo, Ed Currie holds three Carolina Reaper peppers, in Fort Mill, SC.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Last month, The Guinness Book of World Records decided Currie’s peppers were the hottest on Earth, ending a more than four-year drive to prove no one grows a more scorching chili.
Last month, The Guinness Book of World Records decided Currie’s peppers were the hottest on Earth, ending a more than four-year drive to prove no one grows a more scorching chili.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Last month, The Guinness Book of World Records decided Currie’s peppers were the hottest on Earth, ending a more than four-year drive to prove no one grows a more scorching chili.
Last month, The Guinness Book of World Records decided Currie’s peppers were the hottest on Earth, ending a more than four-year drive to prove no one grows a more scorching chili.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
This Dec. 12, 2013 photo shows Carolina Reaper peppers at Ed Currie's store.
This Dec. 12, 2013 photo shows Carolina Reaper peppers at Ed Currie's store.   (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
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