pepper heads for life

poblano pepper shu

Scoville Heat Rating : 1,000 – 2,000 SHU

The Poblano Pepper is a type of chili pepper that originates from Pueblo, Mexico. The dried form of this pepper is known as the Ancho pepper. In some cases, the Poblano pepper will have pods from the same plant that vary a great deal in the intensity of their heat. The plant can reach heights over two feet. The pepper pod may mature to lengths of four to six inches and widths of two or three inches. With maturation, the waxy skin of the pepper turns a deep red color that is almost black.

 

Scoville Heat Units

All chili peppers contain a certain amount of pungency or heat. This heat is measured in Scoville Heat Units or SHU. This measurement is determined by the amount of the chemical compound, Capsaicin, which the pepper contains. Capsaicin is found in the flesh, ribs, and seeds of the pepper. In 1912, Wilbur Scoville, a chemist for a pharmaceutical company, developed a test to assign each pepper a heat level. He made a mixture of ground pepper and sugar water for each type of chili pepper. This mixture was tasted by members of a taste testing panel. He further diluted the mixture, with additional sugar water, until the individuals could no longer feel a burning sensation on their tongues. The number of required dilutions was used to calculate the heat range for each type of pepper. Today, researchers use High Performance Liquid Chromatography. The Capsaicin from peppers is used in this technique instead of ground chili peppers. HPLC is said to be as sensitive as the human tongue. Although the testing procedure has changed, Mr. Scoville’s scale has remained the same and is still in use.

 

Pepper Trivia

Many different cultures enjoy the addition of the Poblano pepper to their cuisine. During Mexican festivities celebrating independence, a dish is prepared for the event called Chile’s en Nogada. The dish uses the colors coordinating with the Mexican Flag. These colors are green, white, and red. The dish mainly consists of the Poblano pepper and many nationals consider this to be the most symbolic of all Mexican dishes. Everyone celebrating during these festivities makes sure to take part in some of this cuisine.

Photo credit: Hot Spicy & Skinny