Britain’s 30C plus returning heatwave this weekend won’t be the only thing likely to go off the heat scale.
Notorious British-grown hot chilli pepper, the Carolina Reaper, is set to be up to 20 per cent more potent this year because of the extra sunshine so far this summer.
The chilli – the world’s hottest commercially grown pepper which is 400 times fiercer than a Jalapeno – goes on sale this week exclusively at Tesco.
And the supermarket warned that the recently picked Reapers, which ripened in Bedfordshire during the recent heatwave, could be even more scorching than usual.
Tesco chilli pepper buyer Phoebe Burgess said:
“This year’s batch of Carolina Reapers are absolute dynamite and the good news for customers is that they’re likely to need less when cooking because they are so strong.
“The Reaper has become a firm favourite with customers because of their rich, fruity flavour and awesome strength but they are only available for about three months – from now till about till the end of September.”
The tiny chilli peppers really pack a punch – and measure, on average, 2.2 million Scoville Units. By comparison Tabasco sauce is measured at between 2,500 and 5,000 Scovilles.
They are exclusively grown by Bedfordshire farmer Salvatore Genovese, who is the UK’s largest chilli pepper grower.
“Through more than 15 years growing experience I’ve found that chilli peppers become more potent the hotter the weather.
“Basically if the plant gets stressed because of extra sunshine and hotter temperatures or through drought then it will bear hotter fruit.”
Salvatore started growing chilli peppers after he took over his parents’ cucumber business and now grows around one million, or 15 tonnes of chillies each week for the UK market.
Other chilli peppers grown by Salv that are stocked by Tesco include the previously hottest UK grown variety, the Komodo Dragon, as well as the Scotch Bonnet and Habanero in red, green, chocolate and yellow; Flavia, Purple Valentina; Cayenne; Fresno in yellow, green, red and orange and his own favourite the Serenade.
Not only are these also likely to be hotter than usual but there will also be about 20 per cent more this year because of the extra sunshine.
The Carolina Reapers cost £1 for a 15g pack contain two to three chillis. They are available in nearly 350 Tesco stores across the UK.