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Hot Peppers and Scoville Heat Units

Add a little spicy heat to your meals this season by growing a few hot peppers.

Their spicy heat is measured in the Scoville Heat Units. Poblano and Siracha rate between 1,000 to 2,500, jalapenos up to 8,000, cayenne can peak at 50,000, habaneros up to 350,000 and one of the hottest, the ghost pepper, at as much as 2,200,000 units.

Ornamental peppers are edible but most are spicy hot at anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 units.

You can turn down the heat when preparing your favorite recipes. The majority of the capsaicin that gives hot peppers their heat is in the white membrane that houses the seeds. So, remove this and the seeds if you want to turn down the heat.

Consider wearing rubber gloves and avoid touching your face and eyes. Then wash your hands and utensils when done.

A bit more information: Don’t worry about destroying your taste buds or burning a hole in your stomach, these are just a few of the hot pepper myths you may have heard. But do drink milk, not water, when trying to neutralize the heat. The casein in the milk binds the spicy capsaicin oil and helps wash it away.  And if milk isn’t handy, try a cube of sugar or honey instead.

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