Happy Birthday Wilbur Scoville

SalsaPairingWho is Wilbur Scoville, you may ask. He was born 151 years ago on January 22, 1865. Mr. Scoville is the inventor of the Scoville scale.  This is also known as the Scovie Scale. The Scoville scale is an objective way to calculate how hot chili peppers really are. Chili peppers are then ranked by Scoville Heat Units (SHU).

The scale ranges from zero, a green pepper, to 2,200,000 SHU’s. The hottest pepper on the scale is a Carolina Reaper pepper. While I’ve never tried a Carolina Reaper pepper, with a ranking of around 2,000,000 on the Scovie scale it makes me not to want to try it.

In comparison, a regular Jalapeno pepper ranges from 3,500 to 10,000 SHU, while Tabasco sauce is about 1,200 – 1,600. For example, the SHU’s for our nationally award winning Traverse Bay Farms fruit salsas are on the very low end of the scale of around 1,000. They are the perfect blend of heat and flavor. In fact, the other ingredients like tomatoes, onions and the individual fruit helps to reduce the overall heat of the final salsa flavor, too. They really aren’t hot and all of our fruit and gourmet salsas offer a full body flavor with just enough spice so they qualify as a salsa.

Are Their Natural Health Benefits to Chili Peppers?

Chili peppers offer a number of natural health benefits including weight loss, relieving pain and inducing labor. However, until the Scoville Scale was created there was no way to really measure the hotness from one chili pepper to another pepper.

What Makes a Pepper Hot?

The active ingredient in peppers that give them their different degrees of hotness is the concentration of the capsaicin. This is the same compound that gives you the burning sensation in your mouth when you eat chillies or salsas. In fact, capsaicin will cause a burning sensation when it comes in contact with any tissue. In addition, the more concentration of capsaicin, the more the heat tends to linger in your mouth after your eat salsa.

How are Scoville Heat Units Measured?

The heat test, called the Scovilee Organoleptic Test, was first invented in the 1912 and has been the food industry’s hotness standard ever since.

Here are the steps to measure the hotness of the chili pepper:

#1: Capsaicin levels are measured by dissolving chillies in alcohol to extract the actual capsaicin oil. The extract is then diluted in sugar water.

#2: A panel of five participants is then asked to detect the heat level when drinking the diluted sugar water. The mixture is continued to be diluted until three of the five participants cannot detect any hotness in the mixture.

The Scoville Heat Units are measurement by how many times the mixture is diluted until no heat is detected. As the mixture is diluted, the SHU increases. For the hottest chillies, the mixture has been diluted a number of times until no heat it detected by the participants.

What are the Scovie Awards?

The Scovie Awards is the world’s largest competition of spicy foods. It is held annually in in New Mexico. Thousands of spicy foods are submitted from all over the globe. Each entry is then rated by a panel of 80 to 100 judges. This is “blind panel” and each entry is ranked on aroma, flavor, heat scale and eye appeal. The results are then collected and compiled by the staff and each year winners are announced.

A Scovie Award is considered one of the elite food awards any company can win. In fact, since 2009, Traverse Bay Farms has won 18 Scovie Awards for our fruit salsas, gourmet salsa, fruit jams and more. We are the #1 award winning super fruit company in America. If a company can win a Scovie Award, you know it has to be good. Check out all of our nationally award winning products. Thanks to Wilbur Scoville, we have the Scovie awards today.

Check out our all-natural award winning items:

Fruit Salsa
Red Raspberry Jalapeno Jam
Honey Jalapeno Mustard

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