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It’s true what they say, some like it hot -- and some like it hotter than others. When it comes to hot peppers, there’s an official ranking system for spiciness called the Scoville Scale, which measures the concentration of capsaicin. This is the chemical that makes spicy things spicy. If your only brush with heat has been the jalapeno, the pepper that most people think of as “burn-your-tongue spicy,” jalapenos only register at a measly 2,500 to 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Now, just think of what a 100,000 SHU pepper would do. How about a 2,000,000 one?

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1. Scotch Bonnet

Heat level: 100,000-350,000 SHU

The harmless-looking Scotch bonnet gets its name from its resemblance to a Tam o’ Shanter, those floppy tartan bonnets with pom-poms that Scottish people traditionally wear. But one bite of this scorching hot Scot will have you doing the Highland fling. Despite the name, slightly sweet Scotch Bonnet peppers actually hail from the Caribbean and are frequently found in fiery dishes there, such as jerk chicken or pork, as well as in West Indian pepper sauces.

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