The hot weather may have cooled but the heat will seriously soon be on for the growing number of super strength chilli pepper fans.
For the first time ever, Bedfordshire grower Salvatore Genovese, who supplies UK retailers with a million chilli peppers a week, will unleash three of the hottest varieties in the world.
And all three – the notorious world’s hottest chilli pepper Carolina Reaper, Komodo Dragon and Armageddon – which are up to 400 times hotter than a jalapeno pepper, will be on sale exclusively at Tesco stores across the UK.
The Carolina Reaper is already the stuff of legend – last year it reclaimed its place as the hottest chilli pepper in the world, measuring a tongue-melting 1.5 million Scoville units*.
Last year Salv, as he is known, created a new record by growing the Armageddon variety, which at 1.3m Scovilles is the hottest British-bred commercially grown chilli pepper.
And the Komodo Dragon, which like the Reaper, hails from America, also measures up at a phenomenal 1.3m Scovilles.
Their arrival is likely to go down a treat with fans of super hot chillies – during lockdown Tesco has seen demand for other varieties such as the Scotch Bonnet rocket by more than 170 per cent.
Tesco chilli pepper buyer Emily Hampson explained:“These chilli peppers will be available as part of our Super Hot range but until shoppers arrive at the store they won’t know which variety they are getting. It will be a lucky dip.
“A word of warning though – these super strong varieites are not for beginners and we advise that only experts who know what they are doing should try them.
“Despite their ferocious heat, they are becoming more and more popular with UK shoppers.
“If you have some basic kitchen skills and use just a smidgeon with say, some cream, then you can temper the heat to create a vibrant and delicious sauce out of them.”
Salv has been growing chilli peppers on his farm in Blunham for more than 20 years and has become so well known that he now receives orders for them from all over the world.
He grows around 15 tonnes a week which works out at about one million chillies.
Salv said:“When I started growing them no one believed that the UK would have such a great appetite for chilli peppers, particularly the really super hot ones.
“But we have a growing chilli culture and you only have to look online to see all the UK based chilli sauce businesses that have sprung up in recent years.
“Each of these three varieties on sale at Tesco have subtle differences such as the fruitiness or the immediacy of its strength on the tongue.
“Last year I grew the Armageddon which is the hottest ever British bred commercially grown chilli pepper. Now I want to go one better and commercially grow a chilli bred in Britain that will outdo the notorious Carolina Reaper.”
The chillies will cost £1 a packet and will contain up to three chilli peppers depending on the size. They will be on sale from this weekend.