- Try these at home:
- Sprinkle over your favorite pizza.
- Add to the wok when stir-frying.
- Add to potato or tuna salad.
- Mix with equal parts of Italian salad dressing. Use as a marinade for chicken.
- Stir into sour cream and chopped green onion. Serve as a dip for veggies.
- Stir into your favorite pasta sauce.
- Spice up French or Ranch salad dressings.
- Mix with melted butter for basting grilled steaks.
- Add to chili, stews, and soups.
- Try it in salsa or seafood cocktail sauce for that extra tangy taste.
- Add to mashed or baked potatoes for a nice, spicy flavor.
What are Scoville Units?
A pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville invented the Scoville Scale in 1912 to measure the heat of peppers. A "Scoville Unit" is actually a measure of capsaicin (the chemical in hot peppers that is responsible for their heat).
Scoville's test was a comparative taste test that is considered subjective by today's standards. A more sophisticated method is in use today, but in honor of Wilbur Scoville, the unit of measure is still called the Scoville.
The capsaicin level in peppers can vary from plant to plant due to local environmental conditions. This means that a pepper's rating is an average measure.
The hottest pepper on record is the Habanero/Scotch Bonnet. Some claim it is one variety, while others claim that the Habanero and Scotch Bonnet are slightly different varieties. Habanero Peppers are rated at 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville units. By contrast, the Serrano Pepper comes in at about 5,000 to 15,000 Scoville units.
So how did Scoville discover these heat levels? His method was simple. He soaked each different variety of pepper separately in alcohol overnight. Because capsaicin is soluble in alcohol, the soaking extracted the pungent chemicals from the pod. Then Scoville took any measure of the extract and added sweetened water in incremental portions until he detected a level of heat on his tongue. For example, in the case of Japan chiles, it took sweetened water in volumes between 20,000 to 30,000 times the pepper extract before the heat level was not noticeable. He thus rated the Japan chiles 20,000 to 30,000 Scoville Heat Units.
Scoville's name has since become closely associated with the measure of pungency, but the oral test is now being slowly replaced by a modern machine (High Pressure Liquid Chromatograph) that is as sensitive as the human tongue.
Hot Garlic-Roasted Potatoes
- 4 russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Original TABASCO® brand Garlic Pepper Sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 500°F. Toss potatoes with garlic, oil, TABASCO® Sauce, and salt and pepper in a large roasting pan.
Roast potatoes in center of oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and stir to expose uncooked potato. Return to oven and continue roasting 15 minutes longer or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Makes 6 servings.
TABASCO® Garlic Fra Diavolo Wing Sauce
- 2/3 cup TABASCO® brand Garlic Pepper Sauce
- 1/3 cup marinara sauce, puréed
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3/4 teaspoon ground oregano
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use with chicken wings.
Makes sauce for about 4 pounds chicken wings.