Though largely unknown to the old world until the 1490s, pepper, scientifically known as Capsicum Spp. Pepper is a perennial shrub crop originating from South America, Central America, and Mexico where they are natives.
The word Pepper (capsicum) as it began to be used in the 16th century is derived from the old English pipor, Latin piper, and Sanskrit pippali. However, it’s originally used to mean an Asian native vine crop known as piper nigrum or black pepper.
Black pepper (piper nigrum) and pepper (capsicum) both have a similarity that brings them under one common name, and that is the burning feeling that triggers pain receptors in the brain when eaten. This burning feeling or spiciness is described as peppery too.
The chemical responsible for this in capsicum is a chemical called capsaicin, while that of piper nigrum (called Uziza seed in Nigeria) is called Piperin, and it is both responsible for the hot sensation we feel in our mouth, and body when we consume it.
The concentration of capsaicin (capsaicinoid) in a pepper(capsicum spp) is measured in the S.I unit called the Scoville scale or Scoville heat unit( SHU).
There are different varieties of pepper that all originated from a common specie, and they have varying concentrations of capsaicin in them which makes some hotter than others.
The following are some of the hottest peppers known to man and the SHUs.
1. Yellow lantern pepper or Cameroon pepper:
This is a flavor rich pepper that has a SHU of about 100 to 400 thousand Scoville.
It is also known as Caribbean red pepper or Bonney peppers. It also comes in yellow colors
SHU: 100,000 to 4000,000 scovile.
3. Habanero pepper:
Similar in flavor and colors to the scotch bonnet, but with a sweeter taste, and less heat.
SHU: 80,000 to 260,000 scoville.
4. Bell pepper:
These come in a variety of color, are rich in flavor, and are popular in preparing Nigerian fried rice.
SHU: It is 0 to 100 scoville.
5. Cayenne pepper:
SHU: 30,000 to 500,000 scoville
6. Red chilli:
SHU: 50,000 to 200,000 scoville .
Numbers 1 to 6 are peppers common in Nigeria and most West African states, that’s why I mentioned it in no particular order. They are known in Nigeria as;
Ghana pepper, Cameroon pepper or black pepper, Ata Rodo, fresh pepper for 2 and 3, Sweet pepper, bell pepper, Shombo, and Dry pepper respectively.
Now to mention a few in other scales,
7. Carolina reaper:
SHU: 2.2 million Scoville
8. Moruga scorpion:
SHU: 2 million Scoville
9. 7 pot brown:
SHU: 1.8 million Scoville
10. Naga Viper:
SHU: 1.3 million Scoville
Recommended: Nigerian Pepper Rice and Stew Recipe
For general fashion and lifestyle inspiration on Instagram, tap that Follow button – @stylishgwin_africa
See also: Ankara Wedding Styles