Ingredient Spotlight: Carolina Reaper Pepper

Ingredient Spotlight: Carolina Reaper Pepper

The Carolina Reaper is a cultivar of the species Capsicum chinense. It was developed by Ed Currie and his team of scientists at PuckerButt Pepper Company in South Carolina, who were attempting to create a chili pepper with the highest Scoville rating possible. Since then, the Carolina Reaper has been recognized as having the highest heat level on record (2,200,000 on the Scoville Heat Units index, which measures the spiciness of peppers), officially earning it the title of "World's Hottest Pepper" in 2013, as certified by the Guinness World Records.

Clearly, the Carolina Reaper is no ordinary chili pepper; it boasts an extraordinary level of heat. On the Scoville Heat Scale, it averages around 1.6 million Scoville Heat Units (SHU). To put this into perspective, a typical jalapeño pepper ranks between 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, making the Carolina Reaper over 200 times hotter! However, underneath the scorching spice, there are fruity and sweet undertones that add complexity to its taste.

This spicy superfood is packed with vitamins and minerals, including:

Vitamin A, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage, boosts immunity and helps keep eyes healthy.

Vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals that cause inflammation and disease. It also helps heal wounds and maintain bone health.

Calcium, a mineral important for strong bones and teeth as well as muscle function and blood pressure regulation.

Iron, a mineral that transports oxygen throughout the body, helping you breathe better when you have anemia (lack of red blood cells).

Health Benefits include:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects: As a member of the chili family, Carolina Reaper contains an ample dose of capsaicin--the chemical that gives peppers their heat. Capsaicin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce pain associated with arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, like psoriasis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Digestive effects: Capsaicin stimulates production of bile, which helps break down fats in your digestive tract so they can be absorbed into your body for use as energy or stored as fat reserves.
  • Immune-boosting effects: Spicy foods are rich in antioxidants called phenols that fight free radicals in your body; these little guys can damage cells and lead to cancer growth if left unchecked by antioxidants like those found in hot peppers."

Carolina Reaper Pepper is the namesake and star ingredient in our Carolina Reaper Fire Cider, created specially for the spice-fanatics among you!

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