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Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia): What Is It?

Last Updated on October 5, 2023

Ghost Pepper, also known as the Bhut Jolokia, is the one of hottest chili peppers in the world. Guinness World Records confirms it!

‘Bhut’ means ghost, given by the Bhutia people, due to the way the heat creeps up on you. Among other names, the ghost pepper is also known as Naga Jolokia, Bih Jolokia, or ghost chile.

scoville units of a ghost pepper

Chili-lovers, looking for a new challenge? This article will cover all you need to know about the Ghost pepper – its history, fun facts, and how to handle the heat!

GHOST PEPPER (BHUT JOLOKIA)

Ghost Pepper, also known as Ghost ChiliBhut Jolokia, Red Naga Chili, or Naga Bhut Jolokia, is an incredibly hot and spicy chili pepper.

It clocks in at over one million Scoville Heat Units (SHU)! That’s even hotter than the renowned Habanero pepper.

what are ghost peppers

Because Ghost Pepper has high levels of capsaicinoids. These are chemicals found in chili peppers that create the sensation of heat when coming into contact with your mouth or skin.

They contain about double the amount of capsaicinoids compared to other superhot peppers like Habanero and Scotch Bonnet.

Lots of people enjoy Ghost Peppers for their intense heat and spiciness. Plus, they have been used in military applications too.

For example, they can be used to make non-lethal weapons like pepper spray. The high concentration of capsaicinoids makes it an effective tool for incapacitating attackers without lasting harm.

Where Does Ghost Pepper Come From

This chili pepper originated from Northeastern India – Assam, Nagaland and Manipur.

It grows best in warm, sunny climates and can reach up to 3 feet high. These chilies are teardrop-shaped fruit sizes and change color from green to red when ripe.

how to grow bhut jolokia

For centuries, indigenous tribes have been using it as a spice and medicine. But it wasn’t until the early 2000s that it gained worldwide recognition.

They have been used in Indian cooking like chutneycurry, and pickles. Due to their medicinal properties, they are also used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

In the early 2000s, they became popular among chili lovers for their extreme spiciness. Now, you can find them in various forms including flakes, seasoning, and even in beverages.

What Do Ghost Peppers Taste like

They have a unique taste. It is kinda a mix of fruity and sweet chili flavors. This intensity makes it different to other peppers.

When you first try one, the heat won’t hit you right away. It takes 30-45 seconds. Then you’ll feel a burning in your mouth and throat. Even a small amount can be too much for those not used to spicy food.

If you like spicy food, ghost peppers are a great choice. Start with a small amount and work your way up.

ghost pepper vs. carolina reaper – The Scoville Rating

It’s time to find out! The Scoville scale is the way to measure the spiciness of chili peppers.

Developed in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville, it measures the capsaicin present in a pepper. The higher the rating, the hotter the pepper.

So, how does Ghost Pepper (Bih Jolokia) match up to other hot peppers? Let’s check out the table below:

  1. Pepper name
  2. Rating for peper measure
SpicinessPepper NameScoville Rating
1Carolina Reaper1,400,000 – 2,200,000
2Trinidad Scorpion1,200,000-2,000,000
3Ghost Pepper855,000 – 1,041,427
4Chocolate Habanero425,000 – 577,000
5Red Savina Habanero350,000 – 577,000
6Fatali125,000 – 325,000
7Habanero100,000 – 350,000
8Scotch Bonnet100,000 – 350,000
9Thai Pepper50,000 – 100,000
10Cayenne Pepper30,000 – 50,000
11Tabasco Pepper30’000 – 50,000
12Serrano Pepper10,000 – 23,000
13Hungarian5,000 – 10,000
14Jalapeño Pepper2,500 – 8,000
15Poblano1,000 – 1,500
16Anaheim500 – 2,500
17Pepperoncini100 – 500
18Bell Pepper0

You might be wondering they look so similar. Do you know this two peppers belong to the same family? Capsicum chinense, which is also known as the habanero pepper.

Ghost peppers, on the other hand, are hybrid peppers made from Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens, while Carolina Reapers are hybrid peppers made from Naga Viper pepper and Habanero.

It is one of the hottest peppers cultivated on the planet. It was once the hottest pepper, until Carolina Reaper won the title of the world’s hottest chilli.

FUN FACT: THE INDIAN ARMY MADE A GRENADE FROM GHOST PEPPERS

Do you know these chilies were once used as military weapons – smoked bombs?

DRDO officials suggested a scientist’s idea. The scientist realized the pepper’s after-effects were like tear gas. Tests were done and it was approved for use in non-lethal weapons by the army.

This grenade immobilizes targets within 5 square meters. It causes burning sensations in eyes, nose, and throat. Also, uncontrollable coughing and sneezing. These effects last for 30 minutes. It is an effective tool against mobs.

The first test was in 2018 in Assam during protest marches. It has been used in many states since then. This includes Jammu and Kashmir where farmers had clashes with police forces.

The Indian Army made a grenade from Ghost Peppers! It’s true! The grenade contains a small amount of chili powder mixed with other chemicals.

They create intense fumes when exposed to air to control riots and neutralize terrorists. The pepper’s spiciness can cause skin irritation, breathing problems and temporary blindness.

Chili brick made of dung & crushed chili, ready to bake. Then it will be lit to produce acrid smoke around chili fences. Photo credit: Jonathan Konuche

African farmers also use chilies to smeared on fences and walls to keep wild elephants from entering certain areas and keep them out of crops.

(source: wildtech.mongabay.com)

Are They Great Chilies for Hot Sauce?

Are they good for hot sauce? Well, it depends…

ghost peppers

Characteristics:

  • Peppers Measure Heat level: SHU 855,000 – 1.041 million
  • Flavor Profile: Smoky, fruity, slightly sweet
  • Heat Retention: Yes
  • Shelf Life: Up to 2 years

Using Ghost Peppers in spicy sauce? Not for the faint of heart

They can overpower other flavors. If used in moderation and with complementary ingredients like fruit or garlic, they can give a unique kick to spicy sauce.

Their high heat retention and long shelf life make them a great choice for hot sauce makers.

GROWING GHOST PEPPERS: IS IT EASY?

Surprisingly, growing ghost peppers is easier than it seems!

Remember: they need warm temps (above 70°F) and plenty of sun. The soil should be well-draining, with compost or aged manure added.

Water regularly, but not too much – they can get root rot in soggy soil. Fertilize with balanced or slow-release fertilizer.

Finding the right seedlings or seeds may be a challenge, as many garden centers don’t carry them. Look online, or find specialty retailers.

Once you have them, it’s simple. Plus, you can cross-breed ghost peppers with other hot varieties – experiment to create unique hybrids!

Give them what they need to grow and you’ll have spicy ghost peppers in no time – nutrient-rich soil, sun, regular watering and fertilization. Anyone can grow them at home!

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q: What is ghost pepper?


A: Ghost pepper, also known as Bhut Jolokia, is a type of chili pepper that is extremely hot and spicy.

Q: Where is ghost pepper grown?

A: Ghost pepper is primarily grown in Northeast India, particularly in the states of Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur.

Q: How hot is ghost pepper?


A: Ghost pepper is one of the hottest peppers in the world, with a score of about 1,000,000 on the Scoville scale, which measures the heat level of peppers.

Q: What are the health benefits of ghost pepper?

A: Ghost pepper contains capsaicin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It may also stimulate digestion and boost metabolism.

Q: How can I use ghost pepper in cooking?


A: Ghost pepper can be used sparingly in cooking to add heat and spice to dishes. It is often used in sauces, marinades, and rubs for meat or vegetables. Caution should be taken when handling and using ghost pepper, as it can be extremely hot and cause skin irritation.

Q: Is ghost pepper safe to eat?

A: While ghost pepper is safe to eat in small amounts for most people, it can cause digestive issues, such as stomach pain and diarrhea, and should be avoided by individuals with certain medical conditions, such as heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome. (Source: health.howstuffworks.com)

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Ghost Pepper Pineapple Salsa

Learn how to make a Ghost Pepper Pineapple Salsa that is perfect for your next party or get together!
5 from 5 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2 cup
Calories: 176kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pineapple cubed
  • 2 pc ghost pepper
  • ½ pc small onion cubed
  • ½ pc small carrot rough chopped
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp raisin
  • 1 pc zest of lime
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp all spice
  • 2 tbsp organic white sugar
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • ½ tbsp salt

Instructions

  • Puree all ingredients except the vinegar in a food processor. Add to pot with vinegar and cook for 15 minutes. To make the sauce smooth, blend it again if necessary.
  • Fill sterilized hot bottles or jars with hot sauce.
  • Place in a hot water bath for ten minutes. When finished, take it out and let it cool. Let it age in the fridge for at least 1 week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.05g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 1755mg | Potassium: 274mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

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