alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 

Food

A Spicy Centennial

Wilbur Scoville
Wilbur Scoville

As we all know, New Mexico has been a state for a full century as of this year. But that's not the only hundred year birthday we should be celebrating. In a coincidence that's altogether too perfect for our green chile obsessed region, 2012 also marks the 100th anniversary of the Scoville scale.

The Scoville scale, as anyone with a taste for the caliente should realize, is the more-or-less standardized method for determining how hot a chile pepper is. The scale ranges from 0 for a heatless bell pepper, to 16 million for pure capsaicin, the chemical compound that makes chile spicy. A good, hot New Mexico chile typically ranks somewhere between 3500 and 8000, while its degenerate offspring the Anaheim pepper is closer to 1,000. Law enforcement grade pepper spray registers at around 1.5 million.

Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacist, developed the scale in 1912 in order to ensure that the peppers used in a turn-of-the-century muscle salve called Heet were consistently spicy enough to take advantage of capsaicin’s topical pain relieving qualities (is there anything chile can’t do?). Appropriately enough, not only did Scoville develop the first standardized heat scale, he was also one of the first scientific chile tasters to note that the best way to cool down a fiery tongue is to reach for a glass of milk.

For more information about Wilbur Scoville, check out Dave DeWitt’s biographical article on fiery-foods.com.

 
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    ICEAGE / HELM
    ICEAGE / HELM11.5.2014