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Bombs away! March 27, 2010

Posted by ourfriendben in gardening, wit and wisdom.
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Our friend Ben and Silence Dogood read with delight earlier this week that the Indian government had devised the ultimate anti-terrorist weapon, made from a garden crop we know quite well: the ‘Bhut Jalokia’*, the world’s hottest pepper. Not only do we ourselves grow ‘Bhut Jalokia’, which as the name implies originated in India, but our friend Rob can actually eat a ‘Bhut Jalokia’.

Big deal, you may be thinking, but actually, it is a pretty big deal. That’s because, in terms of hotness, ‘Bhut Jalokia’ blows every other hot pepper off the map. The heat of hot peppers is measured in something called Scoville units. Think of a thermometer, with degrees rising as the temperature gets hotter.

In the case of Scoville units, pepper heat is measured on a calibrated scale, with bell peppers at 0 Scoville units (no heat) and jalapenos at 5,000 to 8,000 Scoville units. By comparison, ‘Scotch Bonnet’ habaneros, the previous record holder, tip the hotness scales at 500,000 Scoville units. If, like us, you think jalapenos are plenty hot, you’d want to keep far, far away from even one ‘Scotch Bonnet’ (so called because the somewhat squashed appearance of the pepper reminded some imaginative soul of the traditional Scottish headgear of the same name).

So okay, a ‘Scotch Bonnet’ is about 100 times hotter than a jalapeno. Yow. The previous record holder, the ‘Red Savina Habanero’, weighs in at 577,000 Scoville units. If your mouth is on fire just contemplating this, imagine the heat of a ‘Bhut Jalokia’, at over a million Scoville units. No wonder hot sauces containing them have names like “Annihilation.”

‘Bhut Jalokia’ is enjoyed in its native province of Assam for its flavor as well as its heat, but how people whose tongues had been burned off could even determine flavor is beyond our friend Ben. I know I wouldn’t have one tastebud left if I tried one. Yet there’s Rob, popping them like candy.

Anyway, it appears that the government of India has recognized the potential of ‘Bhut Jalokia’ as a not-so-secret weapon in the war against terror. It’s devised a ‘Bhut Jalokia’-laced grenade to drive terrorists from their lairs. ‘Bhut Jalokia’ tear gas and ultimate pepper spray for self-defense are apparently also in the works. Silence says she’ll get in line for a canister, which is making OFB kinda nervous.

Anyway, the mere thought of garden produce being used for self-defense really appeals to our friend Ben and Silence, especially given our long acquaintance with overripe produce. Not being fans of soft, slimy, foul-smelling objects, OFB and Silence can easily imagine holding off attacking forces with any of the following: rotting onions, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, zucchini… eeeewwwww. Add some ‘Bhut Jalokia’ and a little Limburger to the mix and forget about guns and bunkers. From our POV, personal defense has just taken a great leap forward.

Gardeners, grab your weapons of mass offense! Ready… set… stink bombs away!!! 

* Also known as ‘Naga’, ‘Naga Jalokia’, and “ghost pepper,” presumably because one bite will give you a foretaste of the afterlife.

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1. mr_subjunctive - March 27, 2010

I wonder how they work on zombies.

Good point, Mr. S., but I fear that the only thing that will really work on zombies is a dissolving agent like hydrochloric acid, or maybe a landmine. A blowtorch or flamethrower might also be a good option…


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