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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chili Connoisseurs Will Brave The Pain for Love of Habanero

Chili pepper lovers are the masochists of the food world. Their need to be hurt and punished by the very pungent pods they worship sometimes borders on the extreme.


And despite the suffering (or because of it) they're always willing to notch up the heat. Pain, after all, is pleasure.


Want to get into some serious capsaicin action? Maybe it's time you've sampled the Red Savina habanero, billed as the hottest chili pepper in the world.


As a company that knows its hot stuff, Mo Hotta-Mo Betta, based in San Luis Obispo, California, sends fresh Red Savinas out to curious (and brave) heat seekers. For the fifth year, the company is offering to ship two pounds of Red Savinas out to the brave and the foolhardy.


The bright red-colored chilis (shaped like little lanterns) are harvested in Oxnard, California, for Mo Hotta-Mo Betta by Frank Garcia, an engineer/farmer who developed the Red Savina strain and owns the seed patent.


Despite the profusion of all manner of hot stuff now on the market, you will not find the Red Savina in the produce section of your local grocery. It's a limited special item, said Tim Eidson, president of Mo Hotta-Mo Betta.


How potent is the Red Savina? The Scoville Rating, which measures heat units in chilis, ranks the Red Savina at 500,000 Scoville Heat Units. A regular habanero chili measures at between 200,000 and 300,000 Scoville units. By contrast, a cayenne pepper is 35,000 to 40,000 Scoville units; a serrano chili is 7,000 to 25,000 Scoville units; a jalapeno between 3,500 and 4,500 Scoville units.


Red Savinas are so hot, they can stop the show -- literally.


Last year Eidson's company sent a box of Red Savinas to the Oprah Winfrey show. A Tabasco sauce-loving woman, Winfrey ate one of the habaneros on the air. They had to stop taping for half an hour while she recuperated. One of her guests ate one and had to be attended by paramedics, Eidson said. Fresh Red Savinas will be ready for shipping the week of Sept. 29. For more information call up Mo Hotta-Mo Betta's web site: www.mohotta.com.