Getty Images
Getty Images

Ranking 10 Peppers on the Scoville Scale

Getty Images
Getty Images

I like hot stuff, to a certain extent. I can't tell you what my tolerance on the Scoville scale is or anything, but I'm usually down with some spice. My theory is that because I have no sense of smell, I like things with extreme tastes, whether that be extreme sour, extreme sweet, extreme get the point. That being said, I know I can't handle Habaneros other than a little sample, which means I definitely couldn't deal with the #1 pepper on our list. Could you?


1. Naga Jolokia (or Bhut Jolokia)

is about as hot as a pepper gets at 855,000 to 1,050,000 Scoville units (a scientific measure of how hot the pepper is). It's not at the very top of the scale because that spot is reserved for pure capsaicin, the component in hot peppers that make them have that "burn." At the time the pepper was tested for the Scoville scale, the Red Savina was the hottest pepper in the world, and the Bhut Jolokia was found to be nearly twice as hot as that. Yikes! It's reported that just eating just one seed from this scorcher can make your mouth hurt for up to 30 minutes after you consume it. And you had better not get it in your eyes. Just a few weeks ago, an Indian woman set a new Guinness Record (we think; it hasn't officially been recorded yet) by eating 51 of these things in a mere two minutes. No word on if her stomach lining survived or not.

2. The Red Savina

was specifically grown to be a super-hot chili. Frank Garcia of GNS Spices in Walnut, California invented it (or bred it, I guess, would be more accurate), but people have been having trouble growing the Red Savina up to the level of hotness Garcia did, even when they have a certified Red Savina seed. Even so, you can find most Red Savinas somewhere between 350,000 and 580,000 on the Scoville.

3. Habaneros

are as about as hot and I'll go, and even then, I don't enjoy them; I can just tolerate them. They're believed to have originated in the Yucatan and have a bit of a citrus flavor to them. The Bhut Jolokia is often mistaken for a habanero, but you would know the difference as soon as you bit into one. I think the habanero is only (only) 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units.

4. The Datil pepper

can be called a sweeter, fruitier version of the habanero. But just because it's sweeter doesn't mean it packs less punch: it can go up to 300,000 units on the Scoville just like the Habanero can. It can also be milder, going all the way down to 100,000 units. You can find lots of Datil peppers in the St. Augustine, Florida, area.


5. The Rocoto (also locoto) pepper

isn't really found in the U.S. too much. It's common in South American countries and used in their cooking quite a bit. And it's so pretty! It can be a fairly mild pepper at 50,000 Scoville units, which is the equivalent of a really spicy Cayenne pepper, but they can take you by surprise at 250,000 units as well.

6. The Chiltepin pepper

grows in Central America, Mexico and the southwestern U.S. They're just little guys. The pepper is also known as the chile tepin, tepin being a Nahuatl word that means "flea." But don't let their little size fool you! Their heat is intense, measuring between 50,000 and 100,000 Scoville units. But if you can get through the first minute or so, you'll probably be OK: the heat is super strong but subsides quickly.

7. You know the Pequin pepper,

but you may not realize it. It's one of the main ingredients in the Cholula sauce you'll often find at Mexican restaurants. It's not too bad; comparable in heat to the Cayenne at 30,000 to 60,000 Scoville units. But the taste is much different: it's supposed to have a smoky, nutty flavor.

8. The Cayenne pepper

is a bit milder, rating at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units. They're named after the French Guiana city of Cayenne. I'm sure you're familiar with the Cayenne pepper; it's ground and sold as a pretty common spice. Although it's only halfway down on the scale, it's definitely has some kick to it and is too hot for some people.

9. The Serrano pepper

has just a little more kick than a Jalapeño: 10,000 to 20,000 Scoville units. Not bad at all. You can also put some Chipotle peppers in this category, which is really just a Jalapeño that has been dried and treated.

10. Finally, the little old Jalapeño!

At 2,500 to 10,000 Scoville units, it's pretty mild compared to the rest of these guys.

So what's your limit?

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


More from mental floss studios