Get to know the Scoville Scale to Measure the Spicy Level of Chili

"The Scoville scale is a method for measuring the spiciness of chilies, with a unit called SHU. Meanwhile, the method is by dissolving the capsaicin content in the chili, using water and sugar until the spicy taste disappears.

Have you ever wondered how hot chilies you eat? Or why do some chilies taste a little sweet while others are so hot? Well, the Scoville scale can help you answer these questions.

The Scoville scale is a technique for measuring the spiciness of chili peppers in Scoville Heat Units or SHU. And, if you are still unfamiliar with this term, let's look at the following information to find out more about the Scoville scale.

What is the Scoville Scale?

The Scoville scale is a method for measuring the spiciness of chilies, peppers, or other spicy food products such as sauces and peppers. The size of the scale refers to the concentration of capsaicin, which is the active component in chili peppers that produces a hot, burning or hot sensation when you eat it.

To measure the hot sensation of chilies, use Scoville Heat Units or SHU units. Meanwhile, SHU is useful for measuring the amount of sugar water in dissolving the capsaicin, until the spicy taste disappears.

For example, a jalapeno has 2000-8000 SHU, meaning it would take 2000-8000 sugar water to dissolve the capsaicin in the jalapeno. The more sugar water, the higher the capsaicin content in chilies. If the capsaicin content is high, it means that the chili has a very hot taste.

Who Invented the Scoville Scale?

The Scoville scale first appeared through a pharmacist named Wilbur Scoville in 1912. Uniquely Scoville did not create this scale for culinary needs, but to find the right dose of capsaicin, for ingredients into pain relief creams.

Apart from giving a hot sensation on the tongue, capsaicin also has an analgesic effect which can relieve pain on the skin. Well, the Scoville scale measures the amount of capsaicin in different chili peppers, so he was able to find the perfect ratio for medical creams.

How it Works to Measure Spicy Levels

To measure spiciness, Scoville needed capsaicin oil from chilies that had been through an extraction process, a sugar water solution, and five people to test the taste. The capsaicin oil mixed with the sugar water solution, to the point that the testers could no longer detect the spicy sensation.

Then, an SHU score is given on how much sugar water is needed. For example, if cayenne pepper has 30,000-50,000 SHU, then the capsaicin extract from cayenne pepper needs to be dissolved 30,000 to 50,000 times. Is the Scoville Scale Accurate?

Despite its popularity, the Scoville scale is actually a subjective test. This is because, although this test involves five testers, the accuracy of the test depends on each individual's ability to feel heat (number of receptors) and how easily they become desensitized to the sensation.

So, typical scoville test results can vary as much as 50 percent from one lab to another. In addition, another problem is the use of samples. Moisture conditions and soil composition greatly affect the hot taste of chilies.

So, it is possible that the same type of chili has a different SHU level, due to different planting methods and different environments.

A New Method for Measuring Spicy Levels

Currently, the spiciness level is measured in SHU units. However, the methodology for determining the level of spiciness has now changed a lot. Scientists are currently using a High-Performance Liquid Chromatography or HPLC procedure to measure the levels of capsaicinoids in hot peppers.

This procedure involves drying or grinding the chilies, then extracting the chemicals that cause the hot or spicy sensation. Then, the chili extract was injected into the HPLC for analysis. This method allows more accurate determination of the amount of each capsaicinoids.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form