Why are ghost peppers so hot

Do more peppers mean more heat?

Put simply, if you increase the amount of capsaicin per bite, it gets hotter.

So if it's just a sauce that's basically just pure paprika, then the mixture of a very hot pepper and a milder pepper is somewhere in between, and adding the mild pepper dilutes the sauce - a spoonful of it contains not that much capsaicin.

But if it's a dish that consists mostly of other things, with ghost pepper in the sauce to heat it up, and on top of that you add another pepper to the sauce, then the other pepper will add heat - there will be more capsaicin in it every bite. Will it get noticed? If it's a banana pepper, no - it's orders of magnitude milder that you'll never notice it. If it's a habanero, it probably isn't much milder than the ghost pepper.

However, other peppers can add great flavor. There is a wide variety of chilies to choose from, and it is perfectly reasonable to use half a dozen different chilies in a single dish to get the full flavor you want. This is still true if you're making a really hot dish. That said, when you talk about "the hottest foods" and ghost peppers it sounds like your goal is really just to make something really hot, not something you can actually taste - you can definitely get a lot of heat from get other peppers. If you're using the hottest peppers, it's likely either a gimmick or a matter of burning your tongue off so you can't taste anything else anyway.

Of course, this assumes that you are actually using all of the pepper to get all of the heat out of it. If not, then ... why are you studying ghost peppers? See Cos Callis's answer for more explanation.

Aaronut

I think you really have to look at the recipe to see if it is going to be watering down or not. Cos Callis is right - more capsaicin means more heat, and all other things being equal, more paprika means more capsaicin. If you mix some of the hot peppers with milder peppers replace , of course, it becomes less spicy. However, if you just add a few more chili peppers without changing any other aspect of the recipe, you're not really adding the things that reduce the heat (fat, alcohol, etc), you're adding more capsaicin, and therefore more heat with chillies.

Cascabel ♦

@Aaronut That's pretty much what I was trying to say with the first two paragraphs.

Aaronut

It is? They seem to have come to the opposite conclusion ("adding the mild pepper thins the sauce - a spoonful of it doesn't contain as much heat").

Cascabel ♦

@Aaronut Then maybe I misunderstood what you were saying. If you're using a spoonful of a constant-size sauce (as a condiment, for example), and if it's a half paprika and half habanero puree, we sure agree that it will be half as hot as if it were it would all be habanero. (That's the first paragraph.) On the other hand, if we have a stew that is 99% other ingredients and 1% habanero, and we add another 1% jalapeno, it has more capsaicin and is hotter. (That's the second paragraph.)

Cascabel ♦

@Brendan adding more capsaicin per bite . But I'll try to edit to clarify.