If you’ve looked at those scorching hot bottles of hot sauce and wondered how you’ll ever be able to tolerate the heat, take heart. There are ways to up your tolerance when it comes to hot peppers. Working your way up the Scoville scale takes some time, but the results are definitely worth it in the end. While you may need to train your body and your mind to love the burn, it’s certainly possible.
The Scoville scale is commonly used to measure the heat of a chili pepper, and if you’re new to the hot pepper world it’s a good place to reference. The mildest peppers and pepper products are near the bottom of the scale and the ones at the top are almost mind-altering hot! For obvious reasons start at the bottom. You can probably skip the lowly bell pepper, as it contains ZERO heat. Instead, a mild pepper to start with might be a Poblano pepper that ranks around 1,000 SHU or a mass-produced hot sauce that ranks below 500. Once you feel comfortable, try stepping it up with a jalapeno pepper or another mild hot sauce.
You can continue increasing the heat by doubling the SHU each time. It’s not always as easy as it sounds, but it does at least give you a reference point to either increase or decrease the heat, as needed. Don’t go up the scale until you feel comfortable and be sure to have a glass of milk ready to help tolerate the added heat. At the top of the scale is where you’ll find the mouth-watering Ghost pepper, the Scorpion pepper and the Carolina Reaper, all extremely hot choices that aren’t for the faint of heart! The climb to the top doesn’t come overnight, but if you take it slow you’ll surely reap the flavor benefits in the end.