While hot sauce can range from mild to earth shattering hot, a pepper extract hits an entirely new level when it comes to scorching heat. After all, it’s the stuff that military and police-grade pepper sprays are made of; so this stuff is off the scale hot! For this reason, you can’t exactly top off your meal with an extract. Instead, it’s used mainly as a food additive during cooking. Even if you go this route, though, you have to use that pepper extract in a small dose, for a little goes a long way.
Pepper extracts are exceptionally hot because they’re made up of either pure dried chili peppers or a blend of dried peppers and essential oils. Pure capsaicin comes in at 15 million on the Scoville scale, meaning extracts can hit a range that doesn’t even compare to your average bottle of hot sauce. Basically, you get the extract by submerging dried peppers, either dried by you or already dried, in alcohol, drawing out the pepper’s oil. You can use any type of hot pepper you want, but a hotter pepper results in more capsaicin, meaning you don’t have to use as many peppers. A milder pepper takes a lot more peppers to achieve the desired amount.
Of course, this is just a simple way of explaining the process, as it’s actually not advised you do the extraction yourself unless you really know what you’re doing. You definitely don’t want to touch the product with your bare hands, risk getting anything in your eyes, nor do you want to deal with the fumes. That’s because pure capsaicin is not only highly irritating but it can also be dangerous. Luckily, it’s easy to find an array of sizzling pepper extracts already on the market. Just remember, we warned you they’re extremely hot!