The Hottest Chiles Ever

Thank goodness nobody was hurt so we can make jokes like that. Seriously, though, the thought of hundreds of thousands of chili peppers going up in flames is kind of awesome (in the traditional sense, meaning awe-inspiring, not the slang sense meaning good). Here’s the story:

HYDERABAD, India - A fire has broken out at one of India’s largest chili markets, burning hundreds of thousands of pounds of chili peppers.

Residents and officials say the burning chili smoke is stinging the eyes and throats of people in Guntur in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

One local official says 150,000 bags of chilies have been destroyed across a 20-hectare area in Saturday’s blaze.

Officials have evacuated nearby residents, and firefighters are still trying to control the flames.

No casualities have been reported. It remains unclear what started the fire.

We ran across this story in the Hot Sauce Blog/AP, which we’re surprised hasn’t set up an aid fund. Could the fire have been started by spontaneous combustion? We’d love to visit a marketplace for chilis. What a hot scene! Hopefully they can rebuild. Meanwhile, here are some chili facts, from a couple of sources:

• Two of the founding fathers of our country, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, are both known to have grown chiles.

• Capsaicin is a colorless, pungent, crystalline compound, C18,H27NO3.

• The shorter the molecular chain, the hotter the pepper.

• One fresh medium sized green chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.

• One teaspoon of dried red chile powder has the daily requirements of Vitamin A.

• The heat from a chile pepper is concentrated in the interior veins or ribs near the seed heart, not in the seeds as is commonly believed (the seeds taste extra hot because they are in close contact with the hot veins).

• If, when a chile pepper is cut open, the veins have a yellowish orange color in that area, it usually indicates the pepper will be a potent one.

• To date, the hottest chile pepper in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records is the “Red Savina” habanero. It measured an amazing 577,000 Scoville Units.

Giant chili market catches fire in India [Hot Sauce Blog]
Chile Pepper Facts [Cosmic Chile]
Chile Facts [The Chile Pepper Institute, University of New Mexico]
Image: Cosmic Chile

The Hottest Chiles Ever