What is the Scoville Scale?

Chili peppers in a supermarket

chillies in a supermarket

The peppers known as chili peppers, chillies or chili peppers have one characteristic in common: At the first bite, you immediately notice that particular itch which can be more or less intense depending on the variety of food we are eating.

Well, to find out how hot each pepper is, the Scoville Organoleptic Exam was developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville. Today it is the most popular tool that allows us to know how edible these particular vegetables are.

As we know, when we put a chili in our mouth, depending on how sensitive we are, we will be forced to drink a drink of water or milk to calm that unpleasant sensation. But why? The answer is in the capsaicinwhich is a chemical component that many of the plants of the genus Capsicum have. When we chew it, capsaicin stimulates the thermal receptor in the skin, especially the mucous membranes, to the point that we can end up sweating and having a really bad time.

How was the Scoville Scale developed? In 1912 Mr. Wilbur Scoville gave a committee of examiners a solution with chili extract diluted in sugar water until it could no longer be detected.. The degree of dissolution of the extract gives its measure on the scale. Thus, for example, sweet chili, as it does not contain capsaicin, has zero on the scale; however, in habanero chile, it has a grade of 300.000. This indicates that the extract was diluted 300.000 times before capsaicin was undetectable.

Scoville scale

Scoville scale

Still, it is still an imprecise scalesince the test is subject to human subjectivity. But it is a very interesting measure to have at least an idea of ​​how spicy a chilli is, don’t you think?

Did you know about the Scoville Scale? If you have been wanting to know more, we recommend you read this article.

What is the Scoville Scale?

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