Why it Works: The Heat is On
We’ve all experienced the invigorating rush of mouth-numbing heat that comes from eating Mexican and Thai food. But where does this heat that makes you sweat and burns your mouth come from? A chemical called capsaicin gives chile peppers their heat. Found mostly in the seeds and inner ribs of chiles, capsaicin levels vary depending on the type of chile. Scientists measure the capsaicin in chiles using Scoville units—the higher the number, the hotter the pepper. For example, sweet bell peppers have 0 Scoville units; jalapeños can have up to 10,000. (The poblano used in this recipe has a Scoville of 1,000.) The hottest of all peppers are habaneros, with levels of up to 300,000!