Breeding the World’s Hottest Pepper


– [Excited Man] Carolina Reaper!
– [Camera Man] Go ahead
and put it in your mouth.
– Go!
– [Narrator] Since the
first time it was announced
to the public that we were
growing these, there were
literally thousands of YouTube
videos of people eating
Carolina Reapers all over the world.
I get a kick out of most of them.
– I made a huge mistake!
– Though it can be unpleasant,
it’s not a dangerous thing
to eat super hot peppers.
– Oh my God!
It’s only getting worse!
(coughing)
– [Narrator] It’s a chemical
reaction your brain perceives
as heat so you will stop doing it.
– I’m gonna lay down.
This sucks.
(uptempo modern classical music)
– I’m “Smokin’” Ed Currie.
I created the Carolina Reaper.
I got into breeding peppers
in college and just really
was interested in getting
hotter and hotter peppers
once I tried them.
Guinness awarded me the
world record for the hottest
pepper in November of 2013.
To breed these things,
I crossed a ghost pepper
with a habanero, and what
came out was this evil
looking pepper that had warts all over it,
blisters they call them.
And the first time I tasted
it, it knocked me to my knees.
(uptempo flamenco guitar)
We get our peppers tested
regularly at Winthrop University
by doctor Calloway in the chemistry lab.
All peppers are measured
by Scoville heat units,
which tell you how hot the pepper is.
Bell peppers have zero
Scoville heat units.
Jalapeño is about 5,000, a Serrano 20,000,
red habaneros 200,000,
ghost peppers 600,000,
then you get to the Carolina Reaper,
which is 1,569,000 heat
units, the hottest thing
in the world.
(playful string music)
When you eat the Carolina
Reaper, the first sensation
you get is sweet, and then
all of a sudden the heat
starts going, it’s like
burning, burning, burning!
Then the physiological stuff starts.
Your eyes will bloodshot, they just start
tearing up and watering, the skin flushes,
you start breathing hard, your metabolism
starts raising up.
Some people say it’s
like eating molten lava.
Others will say it’s like licking the sun.
To me, it’s like eating
a charcoal briquette
and no matter what you do
you cannot get that burn
out of the back of your mouth.
I mean it’s crazy.
A lot of what I do is creative expression.
You look for traits in
one pepper, and you look
for traits in another and
you try to combine them
and keep both those traits.
There are other breeders who
are trying to break our record,
but, uh, we’ve been holding unreleased
peppers in our back pocket
that are twice as hot or
more than the Carolina Reaper
that we could submit to
Guinness at any time.
My perception of what
the limits are of how hot
you can breed a pepper
has changed as the science
has progressed over the years.
Just tell me something can’t
be done, I’m gonna figure
out a way to do it.

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