Types Of Peppers - From Mild To Incendiary

One can start a list of types of peppers with two types, those that are hot, the chili peppers, and those that are not, the bell peppers. The list of those types of peppers that are not hot, the bell peppers, is quite short. There are red bell peppers and green bell peppers. They are about the same in taste and size and are popular when sliced, pickled or stuffed and baked.

The Bell Peppers - Red and green peppers have a taste quite different from that of any other vegetable. The taste could be described as slightly pungent, but not at all unpleasant. It is the taste they impart, when cooked, to other food items and cooked dishes that make them so popular. They are also fun to grow.

Of course some of the other types of peppers, the hot ones can be fun to grow as well. Probably the most common types grown in American vegetable gardens are the Anaheim pepper, the Jalapeño pepper, and the Cayenne pepper. Which brings us to the list of hot peppers, whose degree of warmth varies from very mild to incendiary, the pepper that will have flames shooting our of your mouth, or at least it feels like it.

The Chili Peppers, Mild To White Hot - Let's put several of the more common hot, or chili peppers, into categories and then explain how their heat is measured. Some of these types of pepper vary in the degree of heat they deliver. Part of this is determined by when they are harvested, and part depends upon the particular cultivar or variety. An Anaheim pepper for example, can vary from mild to quite hot, some varieties of Cayenne peppers are hot, while others would nicely fit the description of being fiery.

Mild to somewhat hot peppers include:

Peppers that are definitely hot:

Peppers that are very hot to incendiary:

Then there's the "White Hot" one:

How, besides the tears in your eyes, the degree of scorching of your tongue, and the amount of perspiration pouring from your scalp, do you measure the hotness of the different types of peppers? There is a technique for measuring this, called the Scoville test. The Scoville test measures the amount of capsaicin a unit measure of a given type of a pepper contains. It's the amount of capsaicin that gives the pepper its heat, the more capsaicin the hotter the pepper.

The Scoville Scale - A green pepper contains no capsaicin, and would yield a Scoville reading of 0. An Anaheim chili pepper will register around 1,000 Scovilles, meaning the juice contained in the fiber would have to be diluted a thousand times before one could no longer detect any capsaicin. A Jalapeño pepper can measure anywhere from 2,500 Scovilles, just beginning to be hot, to 8,000 Scovilles, which definitely has a kick. Most Habanero chili peppers come in at around 400,000 Scovilles, with the Red Savina Habanero approaching 600,000 Scovilles. That's considered incendiary, definitely bringing tears to your eyes, and all the other symptoms of extreme heat as well. That was the record until the white hot Bhut Jolokia, at just over 1,000,000 Scovilles, came along. Dilute a Bhut Jolokia a million times, and you end up with the equivalent of a sweet bell pepper.

Not Just Hot, But Nutritious - All of the peppers mentioned are nutritious, and to the extent you can handle them, good for you. Even the hotter ones don't appear to be harmful to the stomach, although those having certain digestive disorders are often cautioned not to eat spicy foods. All peppers are very rich in vitamin C, the hot peppers especially so.




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