Skip to comments.Who was Wilbur Scoville? The science behind what makes chillies so hot
Posted on 01/22/2016 5:00:53 AM PST by beaversmom
Hot chilli peppers have been credited with helping to lose weight, inducing labour and relieving pain. But until Wilbur Scoville, there was no objective way of measuring how hot chillies really are. Scoville, an American chemist born 151 years ago on Friday, is responsible for the "Scoville organoleptic test", a scale of "hotness" that has been the definitive rating of how spicy a chilli is for more than 100 years. On his birthday, Google has saluted Scoville with an interactive Doodle that asks visitors to assist his experiments by cooling the chillies' heat.
Scoville, an American chemist born 151 years ago on Friday, is responsible for the "Scoville organoleptic test", a scale of "hotness" that has been the definitive rating of how spicy a chilli is for more than 100 years.
On his birthday, Google has saluted Scoville with an interactive Doodle that asks visitors to assist his experiments by cooling the chillies' heat.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
I like spicy hot food, but when it is so hot it makes eating unpleasant what is the point?
Mm mm peppers.
I agree with you. I can only do so much.
The funniest take I ever saw on Scoville was a Grrl Power comic strip.
George likes his chicken spicy!
I used to run the Scoville Test for a major food company. The trouble is that it doesn’t work very well. Usually, I’d end up just looking up what the value is “supposed” to be and entering that.
And that’s what everyone else in the lab did too.
Interesting. Can you explain to a non-scientific person why it doesn’t work that well?
So hot, they leave an exit wound...
My Wife and I subscribe to the "If I Ain't Crying...I Ain't Enjoyin'" group! We have Ghost Pepper plants and ONE very small pepper will do for a large pot of chili!!!
Well...the test involves mashing the peppers up and boiling them in alcohol to extract the “Hot” part....the capsaicin. Then you do a series of dilutions on the alcohol....1/100...1/1000...etc
Then you use a dropper to spray a little of each dilution onto the back of your throat and decide what is the weakest dilution where you can first notice some “heat.” And that’s the problem. It’s very subjective. Different people will notice the heat at different dilutions. And each person will vary in their sensitivity from one day to the next.
Personally, I could never pick up any heat until it was very strong. Which is odd, because I’m a real wimp when it comes to hot peppers.
I have Brazilian rainbow pepper plants, maybe not super hot, but boy are they pretty.
Thanks for the explanation. :)
Hatch chilies from New Mexico are my addiction. Exploding flavor with plenty sufficient heat.
Hypothetically, you may be right.
You would think that the capsaicin could be eluded through a chromatograph to more precise detection.
At some point in the digestive process it goes rogue.
Well, a quick check of the scientific literature ....er....uh....Wikipedia says:
“Since at least the 1980s, spice heat has been more precisely measured by a method that uses high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).” (Do I feel old? Yes!)
Though I think this is not technically a Scoville Test.
I made a jam once from open-coal roasted Hatch chilies, green onions and mango. Used pectin to cause it to set.
85% Roasted Hatch
5% Diced Mango
Not bad, but really, not marketable.
(At some big grocers or online from Wal-Mart.)
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