The Scoville scale is used to sensory evaluate the pungency (spicy heat) of chili peppers and other spicy foods.
The scale is reported in Scoville heat units (SHU), a function of the concentration of the naturally occurring alcaloide capsaicin. The scale is named after its creator, American pharmacist Wilbur Scoville which devised it in 1912.
This empirical method is dependent upon the capsaicin sensitivity of testers and the results can estimate the real capsaicin content in a spice or dish.
Pure capsaicin has from 15,000,000 to 16,000,000 SHU, Infinity chilly and Naga Viper chilly from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 SHU, Cayenne pepper from 30,000 to 50,000 SHU, Jalapeno chilly from 2,500 to 8,000, Tabasco sauce from 2,500 to 5,000 SHU, and red bell pepper has 0 SHU or no capsaicin detectable.
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