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What the heck is a Scoville?

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What the heck is a Scoville? If you've ever delved into the world of hot sauce, you may have noticed the curious notation on the bottle. Look no further than Brian's Belly for the answer.

By Belly Buddy David Lauterbach

Sometime around the turn of the century (the last turn, not this one) Dr. Wilbur Scoville, a chemist who worked for the Parke Davis company, devised the Scoville Organoleptic Test, a method of determining the heat in hot peppers.

The hot doctor's process provided a way to measure the amount of capsaicin... N-Vanillyl-8-methyl-6(E)-noneamide to him or "heat" to dullards like you and me. The capsaicin is concentrated in the veins and flesh of the pepper.

If I were smart enough to figure this out we'd be calling the it the Lauterbach scale. But the measurement bears the name Scoville Units (Wilbur Units were taken... they count the amount of words a talking horse can talk, of course). The Scoville scale is quite simple and easy to understand... the higher the Scoville units, the hotter the pepper, the more you pay for it in the morning.


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