Spotlight Spice: Scorpion Chiles (Careful...they're HOT!)
Tomorrow is National Hot & Spicy Food Day, and for that reason we’re highlighting our nuclear option as this week’s spotlight spice – the Scorpion Chile!
Registering between 1.2 and 2 million Scoville Heat Units (SCUs) on the Scoville Scale, this bad boy is almost as hot as civilian-grade pepper spray! For perspective, jalapeno peppers typically range from 2,500 to 8,000 SCUs while habanero chiles – which most of us consider spicy – register between 100,000 and 350,000 SCUs, depending on the variety.
Similar to most of the super-mega-ultra hot chiles out there, the shiny red Scorpion Chile is small in stature with a pointy bit that looks abstractly like a scorpion’s stinger. Its flavor is mildly smoky with slight fruity, citrus notes – though you probably won't notice since it's so darn hot!
Heat from the Scorpion Chile builds slowly, is extreme, and lingers, so we recommend using it sparingly. That said, if you're someone who likes to really feel the heat in your cuisine, carefully give it a try in your sauces, chilis, and soups, or place a pepper or two in with Extra Virgin Olive Oil to create a fiery oil that'll knock your socks off.
We carry Scorpion Chiles only in whole, dried form and prefer using them this way vs. in a powdered form. We typically add them during the cooking process then remove them prior to serving so no one gets a chunk. Pro-tip: Use the chiles in a cloth bag during cooking to make them easier to remove later in the process, similar to how you’d use mulling spices. If you're using the chiles to flavor an oil, check in regularly as the heat present in the oil will build the longer the peppers are left in with it.
We strongly recommend using protective gloves and eyewear when handling Scorpion Chiles. They’re so hot they can irritate the skin and eyes easily. Cook with them in a well ventilated area, and if you have to grind them, we recommend doing so outside.
How hot do you like your food? Share your favorite chile pepper with us in the comments below.