Is a Carolina Reaper a Fruit? The Truth About the Hottest Pepper

Is a Carolina Reaper a Fruit? The Truth About the Hottest Pepper

If you are a fan of spicy food, you might have heard of the Carolina Reaper, the pepper that holds the Guinness World Record for being the hottest in the world. But is a Carolina Reaper a fruit, a vegetable, or something else? This blog post will explore the answer to this question and learn more about this extra hot pepper. See the older blog post if you are interested in growing Carolina Reaper.

What is a Carolina Reaper?

A Carolina Reaper is a chili pepper created by crossing a ghost pepper and a red habanero. Ed Currie, the owner of the PuckerButt Pepper Company in South Carolina, USA, developed it. He named it after the Grim Reaper, the personification of death in many cultures.

The Carolina Reaper has a distinctive appearance, with a red color, a bumpy texture, and a pointed tail. It measures between 3.8 and 5.6 cm long and 2.5 to 3.6 cm wide (1.5 and 2.2 inches long and 1 to 1.4 inches wide). Its average Scoville heat unit (SHU) rating is 1,641,183, which means it is about 200 times hotter than a Jalapeño and 16 times hotter than a habanero. The hottest Carolina Reaper ever recorded had an SHU rating of 2,200,000, close to the level of some pepper sprays used by law enforcement. In the next section, you will get the answer to the question of whether a Carolina Reaper is a Fruit or not.

Is a Carolina Reaper a Fruit or a Vegetable?

Many people might think that a Carolina Reaper is a vegetable since it is often used as a seasoning or a condiment in savory dishes. However, botanically speaking, a Carolina Reaper is a fruit, not a vegetable. A fruit is the part of a flowering plant that contains the seeds, while a vegetable is any other edible part of a plant, such as the roots, stems, leaves, or flowers.

a carolina reaper is a fruit.
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A Carolina Reaper is a fruit because it is the seed-bearing part of the pepper plant, which belongs to the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, and bell peppers. All of these plants produce fruits that are commonly eaten as vegetables, but they are technically fruits in the botanical sense.

Why Does a Carolina Reaper Pepper Taste So Hot?

A Carolina Reaper fruit tastes so hot because of a chemical compound called capsaicin, which is found in the placenta, the white part that holds the seeds inside the pepper. Capsaicin is responsible for the burning sensation we feel when eating spicy food. It activates the pain receptors in our mouth and throat, which signals our brain that we are in danger. Our brain then responds by releasing endorphins, the natural painkillers that make us happy and euphoric.

Capsaicin is measured in Scoville heat units, which indicate how much capsaicin is present in pepper and how much it dilutes in water before it loses its heat. The higher the SHU rating, the hotter the pepper. A Carolina Reaper has a very high concentration of capsaicin, which makes it one of the hottest peppers in the world.

How to Eat a Carolina Reaper Fruit Safely?

If you are brave enough to try a Carolina Reaper fruit, you should know the risks and precautions involved. Eating a Carolina Reaper can cause severe pain, burning, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, dizziness, and even hallucinations. Some people might also have allergic reactions or asthma attacks after eating a Carolina Reaper.

Here are some tips on how to eat a Carolina Reaper fruit safely:

  • Wear gloves and goggles when handling a Carolina Reaper, as the capsaicin can irritate your skin and eyes.
  • Do not eat a whole Carolina Reaper at once, but start with a small bite or a thin slice.
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose, or mouth after eating a Carolina Reaper, as the capsaicin can cause severe pain and damage.
  • Drink milk, yogurt, or ice cream to soothe the burning sensation. These dairy products contain casein, a protein that binds to capsaicin and neutralizes it.
  • Do not drink water, alcohol, or soda, as these liquids can spread the capsaicin and make the pain worse.
  • Have some bread, rice, or crackers to absorb the capsaicin and reduce the heat.
  • Seek medical attention if you experience severe symptoms or allergic reactions after eating a Carolina Reaper.

Uses of Carolina Reapers

Here are some more brief tips on the uses of hot peppers and what to do with extra hot peppers:

  • Use a small amount first and adjust according to your tolerance and preference.
  • Pair them with dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, or cheese, which neutralize the capsaicin and soothe the burn.
  • Dry the peppers in a dehydrator or oven and store them in an airtight container.
  • Make your hot sauces by blending the peppers with fruits, vinegar, salt, and spices. For example, you can make a banana hot sauce with ripe bananas, Carolina Reaper peppers, garlic, onion, lime juice, and turmeric.

Conclusion: Is a Carolina Reaper a Fruit?

A Carolina Reaper is a fruit that is the hottest pepper in the world. It contains a high amount of capsaicin, which causes a burning sensation and the release of endorphins. Eating a Carolina Reaper can be a challenge, but it can also be dangerous. Therefore, you should be careful and prepared when you try a Carolina Reaper fruit.

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