Photo by Mark Kane
Mouths of Fire
Chile peppers, the flaming cousins of sweet peppers, come in many shapes (hat-like, pod-like, long and narrow, flat), many colors (from fire-engine red to orange, yellow and green), and degrees of heat from mildly warm to burning hot. “Burning” is accurate. The hottest varieties can blister your skin and the inside of your mouth. Who grows these?
There’s a fire index. At one end is the Habanero, with up to 350,000 Scoville units ( the measure of heat). In the middle is the Tabasco at 50,000. At the hot but bearable end of the scale are Jalapeno (5,000), Ancho (2,000) and Pepperoncini (500), and many others. Then there are the diabolical hot sauces (Scoville ratings in the millions) that can send you to the hospital.
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