Posted by Green Thumb Gardener | Posted in Vegetable Garden | Posted on 18-06-2010
Hot peppers are found all over the world, but primarily in hot climates such as Mexico and Southeast Asia. Many hot peppers are also cultivated in green or hot houses, which are simply regulated and contained environments.
Hot peppers are found all over the world, and have been adding spice to meals for centuries. The hotter the pepper, the more capsaicinoids it has. Capsaicinoids are what cause the burning feeling when you eat a very hot pepper. The higher the capsaicinoid content the more intensely you will feel the burn.
The Scoville Scale is used to measure how hot a pepper is in Scoville units. The Scoville Scale was developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville. Since then the method for determining Scoville units in hot pepper has become much more scientific (no more taste tests). Once you know the Scoville rating of a hot pepper you can get a good idea how hot it will be and how to use it in your cooking without causing yourself unnecessary discomfort. Pure capsaicin has a rating of 16,000,000, whereas a bell pepper has a rating of 0.
One of the most popular moderately hot peppers is the jalapeno, which has a rating of anywhere between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville units. Compare this with varieties of habanero peppers which come in anywhere from 100,000 to 300.000 Scoville units. Some other highly rating hot peppers include Scotch bonnet peppers and Jamaican hot peppers. Due to the vast difference between peppers, it is wise to never substitute a pepper in a recipe for another unless you know they have similar Scoville ratings.
Many people love to grow their own hot peppers and in the right environment you may find they grow quicker than you can eat them. You can grow hot peppers in your garden, or even in containers.
If you are a novice gardener you may want to start with plants rather than seeds. Each pepper plant or seed packet should come with very specific instructions on planting, watering, and sunlight.
Most hot pepper varieties require at least five hours of direct sunlight a day, and moist but not drenched soil. Adding some plant food to the soil is a great way to encourage healthy large hot peppers. Before planting peppers make sure that the environment in which you live will get hot enough to produce a healthy pepper plant. Some cooler climates may not be ideal for the pepper plant and the seeds and seedlings may need to be cultured indoors before turning out into the garden.