If you’re a hot pepper newbie you may find yourself at a loss when it comes to choosing the best pepper or pepper product for your needs. If you’ve found yourself at the grocery store confused about which pepper to choose, don’t despair. Choosing the perfect pepper is a process, but it’s one that’s not too complicated once you get the hang of it. To avoid a spicy surprise you need to understand which pepper is the spiciest and which is the mildest, and for that we recommend turning to the Scoville scale. The ranking puts the mildest peppers at the bottom and the spiciest at the top.
For most shoppers, the trusty jalapeno pepper is a good place to start because it’s commonly available. A bit spicier is the Serrano. Many mainstream grocery stores don’t even sell peppers much hotter than the habanero, for some are so hot you need to handle them with gloves! While the jalapeno is often harvested green, even the hottest peppers out there usually start out the same color. Eventually they ripen to deep red, yellow, orange, brown or purple. The final color depends on the pepper. A red pepper generally takes longer to grow and costs more than a green pepper. The ripest version of any pepper usually packs in the most heat too.
Surprisingly, some of the smallest peppers out there are actually the spiciest while some of the larger ones are the mildest. Most of the heat of a pepper is found in its seeds and membranes. Don’t mistake the tiny habanero as a bell pepper, though, for they’re not simply a cuter version of the bell. If all this information is too much to take in, try spicing it up with a hot pepper product instead. From mild to super hot, there’s something for just about everyone.