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What Are Trinidad Scorpion Peppers?

The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion is listed in third place as the World’s Hottest Pepper. It resembles the habanero and the Scotch Bonnet—but the Trinidad Scorpion has both of these peppers beat with its extreme heat! The Trinidad Scorpion is a variety of the Capsicum chinense species.

Trinidad Scorpion Pepper
    Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper
       Habanero Pepper
Habanero Pepper


Trinidad Scorpion versus Carolina Reaper

These two are neck and neck, depending on the pepper being tested for heat. Trinidad Scorpion is ringing in third place, this may generally be considered a losing position. In the case of the World’s Hottest Peppers, that’s not necessarily true. With an average rating of 1,200,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU) with the hottest Trinidad Scorpions measuring 2,009,231 SHU. Currently, the number two spot belongs to the Carolina Reaper, which has a max of 2,200,000 SHU and has an average of 1,641,000 SHU. While the current world's hottest pepper is Pepper X at 2.693 million SHU.

Scoville Scale Chart

The Scoville Heat Scale

Scoville Heat Units is the measurement used to measure the pungency of hot peppers. Pepper enthusiasts have been using it for over a century to rate which ones are the hottest. Long before Guinness invented their Top 10 World’s Hottest Pepper list Scoville has been in place. The greater the number of Scoville Heat Units the more intense the heat.

Hot peppers get their heat from the capsaicin oil, which is extracted and then tested to come up with a SHU rating. The capsaicin oil is housed in the placenta portion of the fruit. The Trinidad Scorpion is especially spicy, mostly made of the placenta. It’s impossible to escape the capsaicin burn.

The heat from Scorpion peppers builds! You won’t taste it much at first, but eventually, the heat will hit you, and you’ll understand why Trinidad Scorpion has such an impressive Scoville rating.

Although the peppers underwent testing at New Mexico State University’s Chili Pepper Institute in 2012, it was never certified as World’s Hottest Pepper by the Guinness Book of World Records. Aside from the extreme heat, it has hints of fruity, almost sweet flavor. There are also floral notes, but it might be hard to detect any flavor in the midst of its extreme heat.

The Trinidad Scorpion at a Glance

Scorpion peppers have a glossy, smooth skin with grooves that run from the top to the bottom of the pepper. Like the Carolina Reaper, the Trinidad Scorpion sometimes has a thin tail at the bottom of the pepper. It bears a strong resemblance to a scorpion’s tail. This is exactly where the pepper gets its name!

As the pepper grows, it changes from green to golden yellow to red. As it progresses through each of these three colors, its heat continues to increase. The hottest Scorpion peppers are fiery red. The peppers are small and that measure between one-half to one-inch wide by two to three inches long. Physically, they have a squatty, pod-like shape that looks like other bonnet peppers.

Cooking with the Trinidad Scorpion

If you’re going to cook with a Trinidad Scorpion, exercise caution. Wear gloves while handling and chopping these pepper. Sometimes you might need two pairs just to be on the safe side. Even though your hands are the only part of you that should come into contact with the pepper, you should cover as much of your skin as possible.

For maximum protection wear long sleeves, protective goggles, and a mask. You should take the same safety precautions if you’re cooking with Trinidad Scorpion pepper flakes or some other spice derived from Trinidad Scorpion. If what you’re cooking will produce a lot of smoke or steam, a mask will protect you from inhaling too much of the dangerous heat.

Chopped Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers
Chopped Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Peppers

When you’re finished chopping and handling any pieces of the pepper, wash your hands immediately. Be careful not to absentmindedly touch your face or rub your eyes. Keep the windows open to keep the air moving. Just breathing in smoke can cause damage to your lungs.

If you want to amp up the heat in one of your favorite recipes, Scorpion peppers are the perfect way to do it. Just make sure that if the recipe calls for a traditional (i.e. milder) hot pepper, tone down the measurements of the Trinidad Scorpion, the heat SHU is much higher.

Usually, you only need one regular pepper to heat up your favorite recipe but with a Scorpion pepper, you will likely only need just a sliver. The seeds and white pulp surrounding the seeds also pack a big punch, so removing them will help you tone down the heat a little.

You can add Trinidad Scorpion to pretty much any recipe that calls that for hot peppers. Chili, salsa, guacamole, and barbeque sauce are some classic dishes. They also can be used to make great hot sauces and spice rubs.

But don’t forget that they aren’t for the faint of heart! If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to take the heat, have a glass of milk at the ready to extinguish a potential fire. A dairy product like yogurt or cheese will also successfully extinguish the Scorpion’s sting.

Health Benefits of the Trinidad Scorpion

If you can get past the intense heat, you’ll be rewarded! The pepper has many great health benefits. You’ll experience a pleasant rush of endorphins when you’re eating a hot pepper. This will boost your mood and make you feel happy.

As surprising as it may sound, hot peppers are actually great for your digestive tract. If you tend to get ulcers, you may have been told you should avoid spicy foods. They can actually be good for you if you have an ulcer. If you have an upset stomach, reach for Trinidad Scorpion (or at least use it in a favorite recipe). It’s a natural, successful stomach settler.

How Trinidad Scorpions Grow

Scorpion Pepper on plant

You can thank farmer Wahid Ogeer for breeding the first Trinidad Scorpion in Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago. Harvested between the late spring and early summer.

You’ll obviously find these peppers with ease in Trinidad and Tobago, but they are also common in the Americas and Australia. These plants grow in temperatures mildly warm to super-hot.

The best weather for growing Scorpion peppers is around eighty degrees Fahrenheit (thirty degrees Celsius). You also need moisture and humidity for the peppers to thrive. As a general rule, the hotter the weather, the hotter the pepper the climate will produce. The plants that bear Trinidad Scorpions produce hundreds of chili pods.

Trinidad and Tobago Map

Although this pepper may fall just short of the World’s Hottest Pepper, we don’t think that there’s anything lacking! Trinidad Scorpion is super-hot and has become beloved by chili heads all over the world! They are packed with health benefits and, best of all, they taste great!

Interest in Trinidad Scorpion Peppers Over Time per Google

Google Trends Scorpion Peppers

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