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9 Fun Facts About the Carolina Reaper Pepper

The Carolina Reaper pepper is currently the official hottest pepper in the world with a scorching Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) of 2.2 million. Here are nine other fun facts about this incredibly hot pepper! And to learn even more, check out these other posts about this deliciously hot pepper:

Jar full of red dried Carolina Reaper peppers
The smell that comes out of my jar of Carolina Reaper peppers is incredible. If you smell it too many times your nose will burn for around 30 minutes. Photo by Spicy Trio

Where do Carolina Reaper Peppers Come From?

“Smokin’” Ed Currie of the Puckerbutt Pepper Company in South Carolina created the Carolina Reaper pepper. The Carolina Reaper was created by cross breeding a La Soufiere pepper from the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent and a Naga Viper pepper from Pakistan, two extremely hot peppers themselves. By combining these two peppers, Ed Currie created a flavorful and spicier pepper.

Can you Eat a Whole Carolina Reaper Pepper?

You can technically eat a whole Carolina Reaper, but we do not recommend doing it! This pepper is incredibly hot, so very few people can eat more than a little bit at a time. If you want to eat a whole Carolina Reaper, consider adding it to a dish, making a salsa or hot sauce out of it, or drying it and using it as a seasoning powder, rather than sitting down and popping a whole Carolina Reaper in your mouth. If you want some recommendations of what to do with Carolina Reaper peppers, check out our post on 8 ways to cook with Carolina Reaper peppers.

Are Carolina Reaper Seeds Spicy?

As with all peppers, the membrane inside the Carolina Reaper pepper which holds the seeds is often the spiciest part of the pepper. So, while the seeds themselves may not be spicy, the capsaicin in the membranes may rub off on the seeds, giving them a spicy flavor.

What Happens if you Eat a Carolina Reaper Pepper?

Many people have no idea how spicy a Carolina Reaper pepper is. It is not just hotter than most common peppers, it is hundreds of times hotter, maybe even a thousand times hotter!

A Carolina Reaper pepper is reported to be 175 to 880 times hotter than a Jalapeño. It is more than 10 times hotter than the hottest Habanero. Even if you pop super hot peppers in your mouth like mints on a regular basis, you will not be ready for what a Carolina Reaper has in store for you when it comes to heat level.

Those who consume Carolina Reapers do not feel the pain from the pepper for the first few seconds which gives them time to enjoy its unique flavor before the pain sets in. The pain begins after about seven seconds, sometimes accompanied by other side effects, which include:

  • Throat tightening
  • Excessive sweating
  • Runny noses
  • Light headedness
  • Heartburn

When my husband, who is braver than me, bit into a Carolina Reaper pepper, he experienced side effects for about ten minutes! He felt lightheaded and experienced massive heartburn-like pain. While that immediate burning and pain may end after about 10 minutes, people forget that your insides also react to the spiciness that comes from these peppers. It is common for people to report painful stomach cramps hours later with some even feeling nauseous.

So, if you dare to face the Carolina Reaper, be prepared to pay the price!

Can you get High from Eating Carolina Reaper Peppers?

Technically, you cannot get high eating a Carolina Reaper, or any spicy food for that matter. In reality, however, your brain releases endorphins when you eat spicy food, which leads to many people feeling a sense similar to when they are high. So, while chemically speaking, you are not high, you might feel similar sensations when you eat spicy things, like the Carolina Reaper.

Rehydrating a dried Carolina Reaper pepper in a blue bowel full of warm water
I rehydrate my dried Carolina Reaper peppers in warm water before making a hot sauce out of them. Photo by Spicy Trio

Are Carolina Reaper Peppers Organic?

Carolina Reaper peppers can be grown organically or inorganically, so if you bought some Carolina Reaper peppers, you’ll have to check with the buyer or grower if they are organic or inorganic. 

How can you tell if a Pepper is a Carolina Reaper?

The Carolina Reaper pepper has a pretty distinct look, so you can spot one pretty easily. However, it is possible to confuse the Carolina Reaper with similarly spicy peppers like the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper.

The pepper’s size ranges from an inch to a few inches long. The pods look surprisingly lethal, almost as if to warn you about the pepper’s heat. It has a tail that is sharp and curved like a scorpion. Although some Carolina Reapers can have smooth pods much like Bell peppers, most are gnarled and bumpy. The Carolina Reaper is usually red, but they also come in a variety of other colors including:

  • Chocolate
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Green (unripened state)

How Much do Carolina Reaper Peppers cost?

As of June 2022, here is a breakdown of price of Carolina Reaper peppers by type:

Fresh Carolina Reaper peppers6 for $15
Dried Carolina Reaper peppers1 oz for $12
Carolina Reaper pepper seeds10 for $9.95
This table outlines the prices of fresh and dried Carolina Reaper peppers, as well Carolina Reaper pepper seeds as of June 2022.

Are Carolina Reaper Peppers Good for You?

There is no scientific evidence or medical reports that say that Carolina Reaper peppers are good for you, however, as we have outlined in this post, there are over 30 benefits you can get from eating spicy food in general. This list includes cancer fighting properties, healthy heart, lowering the risk of strokes, healthy cardiovascular systems, and helping with weight loss, among other benefits. So, plenty of reasons to reach for that spicy pepper!