There are hot chiles and then there are chiles that are so hot they require a sort of love of pain to consume them. While it is no longer the hottest chile in the world, at one time the Butch T strain of the Scorpion Chile, or Capsicum chinense was considered the hottest available on the market, before the Carolina Reaper took its #1 spot in 2013 in the Guinness World Records.
These chiles are called "scorpion" chiles because the tip of the chile is very pronounced and is said to look like a scorpion stinger. "Scorpion peppers" is another name for Scorpion Chiles.
Before we can talk about the history of the scorpion chile as it is, it is necessary to discuss the chile's history in general. Native to Central and South America, these plants were one of the first to be domesticated by the people there. In Central America, there is evidence of chiles in the cuisine that dates all the way back to 7500 BCE. Chiles are a good historical bonding agent- bringing cultures together and rivaling the popularity of the black peppercorn for centuries while the price of peppercorns rose and chiles were relatively cheap in comparison. Chiles followed Christopher Columbus on his travels to and from the Americas, and once introduced to India became an integral part of the food identity there. Today, chiles are a huge part of Indian food and Indian culture.
This chile is a global one, with an interesting story getting us to its name. Originally, the scorpion chile comes from Trinidad and Tobago. Seeds for the Trinidad and Tobago chile made their way to America, where some farmers started working on cultivating them and making different varieties. This variety of the Scorpion chile was developed by Butch Taylor, the owner of a farm in Mississippi called Zydeco Farms. In Australia, Neil Smith who owns the Hippy Seed Company had some of Butch's seeds sent over for testing. On the bag of seed the name of the chile was listed, followed by the name of the farmer who had sent the seeds. The name stuck and the rest, as they say, is history. While they are no longer the hottest chile on the market, in March, 2011 the Butch T. Scorpion chile was declared the hottest in the world with a ranking of 1,463,700 SHU.
Just like many other chiles, the scorpion chile needs plenty of water and space to grow. They prefer a well-drained, acidic soil, but can grow in more neutral soils with less spicy results. They love hot weather and need at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to grow to their full potential. These chiles only grow to be one to two inches long, with a bulbous body and a tip that looks like a stinger extended from the fat little body. The scorpion chile only requires 90 to 100 days to reach full maturity.
Our Scorpion chiles are the Butch T variety and they are grown in Ecuador.
Before you cook with these chiles, be sure to take preventative measures! Wear gloves, and perhaps even a mask. Use only a small bit of a chile, as a little goes a very long way with these extremely spicy fruits! Rehydrating the chiles and then deseeding them, including taking out the whitish membrane inside the chile, will greatly reduce the heat and leave you with a less spicy, more fruity chile. This chile is great in sauces, soups, and in meat-based dishes.
If you decide you are going to make flakes or powder out of your chiles, do so outside and away from other living beings, especially small children. Just the scent of these chiles is enough to cause a physical reaction.
The first step to making a spicy honey is to rehydrate your chiles. You will only need five chiles for this recipe, as the scorpion chiles are extremely hot. You can use less if you want less spice, or more for a fire in your mouth and also your entire body effect. Once the chiles have been rehydrated with the stem removed, chop the chiles. Add a cup and a half of honey to a saucepan over medium low heat and stir in the chopped chiles with a quarter teaspoon of salt over medium low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool for an hour. After this, strain the solids from the honey and enjoy your spicy honey! This honey will keep pretty much indefinitely if kept in an airtight jar and stored in a cool, dry place away from the sunlight.
As a word of caution, you should never give a child under the age of one honey. Especially do not give your small children scorpion chile flavored honey.
Fresh scorpion chiles can feel waxy and bumpy. Dried scorpion chiles are usually smaller than their fresh counterparts, and they maintain that bumpy feeling. They are pliable and fragrant and can be rehydrated for use in cooking.
These are a fruity chile. As for the heat, they start off okay, but the burn continues to build until it is unbearable for some people. Eat with extreme caution- some people say it would be better to put an actual scorpion in your mouth than to eat one of these chiles!
Our scorpion chiles are a minimum of 500,000 SHU but can range as hot as 1.4 million SHU. How extremely hot the chile gets depends on several factors, including but not limited to soil type and how much water the plant received while it was growing.
In theory yes, but usually just consuming a single hot chile, or even a piece of a single hot chile is only unpleasant and not deadly. Chiles are hot because the capsaicin in the chile attaches to the cells in a way that makes your brain think that your body is in danger from heat. Just like touching an oven rack by accident when you are taking a baking tray out of the oven, your body perceives the chile as a threat and sends pain signals to the place of contact to tell you where you have been hurt so you can eradicate the source of pain. For the finger on the oven rack, you quickly remove the finger from the source of heat and the pain subsides if you haven't severely burned yourself. For the chile on the other hand, your brain continues to send pain signals to your mouth until the capsaicin disconnects from your mouth's heat receptors. The capsaicin can be dislodged with dairy products, which contains casein. Casein attracts capsaicin, ripping it from the mouth and attaching it to the dairy product. This will ease the pain you feel much more quickly than water or beer. In fact, water or beer will continue to wash the capsaicin around in your mouth, giving it more opportunities to attach to the tongue or throat.
In some very extreme cases, people who have eaten these chiles in larger quantities have more physical reactions than just a burning mouth. In chile eating contests, contestants have been known to vomit after ingesting several different super-hot chiles at once. Some people also form blisters in their mouths and throats when consuming many super-hot chiles. Please be aware of the dangers of consuming too many extremely hot chiles at once and use extreme caution when handling them.
For the fruitiness of the scorpion chile, you can replace it with a habanero. If you are looking to replicate the heat, lean more toward a ghost chile or a Carolina reaper.
Serving Size1 pepper (1g)
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*