There are a number of hot peppers out there nowadays, but do you know the difference between the ghost pepper vs Carolina Reaper? Both winning Guinness World Records for the hottest pepper, there’s at least one undeniable similarity between the ghost pepper and the Carolina Reaper pepper.
But are there any others, and what separates them from one another?
In this article, we will compare and contrast the ghost pepper with the Carolina Reaper so that you can fully understand the differences between them. We will address their parentage, physical descriptions, where these plants grow best, and where they rank on the Scoville scale.
Let’s get started and compare these hot peppers now!
Comparing Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper
|Parent Peppers||Capsicum chinense × Capsicum frutescens||Naga Viper pepper x Habanero|
|Description||Traditional pepper appearance and size that comes in a variety of colors including red, orange, and black. Some varieties are bumpy, but most ghost peppers remain long, slender, and smooth. Plant grows up to 4 feet tall on average||Bumpy texture and bulbous shape found in a variety of colors including black, red, and orange. Reaper peppers end in a point or a scythe-like stinger, making them distinct. Plant grows up to 5 feet tall on average|
|Uses||Popular in a variety of cooking, including hot sauces, curries, and fish. Also used in pepper sprays and defense mechanisms||Notoriously used for its heat, including spicy food competitions. Made into hot sauces and condiments, but best used as an accent rather than the main ingredient given its heat|
|Origin and Growing Preferences||Originally grown in India; prefers full sun and average water, and germinates quickly||Originally grown in the United States; prefers full sun and average water to produce many peppers per plant|
|Scoville Scale||Roughly 1 million||Roughly 1.5-2 million|
Key Differences Between Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper
There are a number of differences between the ghost pepper and the Carolina Reaper. For example, the ghost pepper has a more traditional pepper appearance, while the Carolina Reaper has a distinct hooked tail. The Carolina Reaper is hotter than the ghost pepper on the Scoville scale. Finally, the ghost pepper is an older pepper variety compared to the Carolina Reaper pepper variety.
Let’s go over all of these differences in more detail now.
Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper: Classification
There are some undeniable similarities between the ghost pepper and the Carolina Reaper, likely because they are related to one another. They are both members of the habanero pepper family, also known as Capsicum chinense. However, the ghost pepper is a hybrid pepper made from Capsicum chinense × Capsicum frutescens, while the Carolina Reaper is a hybrid pepper made from Naga Viper pepper x Habanero.
Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper: Description
You can easily tell the difference between a ghost pepper and a Carolina Reaper pepper if you look at them side by side. The ghost pepper looks like a traditional pepper in the sense that it is long and narrow compared to the uniquely shaped Carolina Reaper pepper.
However, you can easily pick out a Carolina Reaper pepper based on its scythe-shaped stinger, located at the bottom of the pepper, something that the ghost pepper does not have.
When it comes to the varieties of these two peppers, there are some more similarities. However, the Carolina Reaper pepper is typically more bumpy in appearance compared to the ghost pepper. In addition, the Carolina Reaper pepper plant grows slightly taller than the ghost pepper plant on average.
Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper: Uses
There’s no denying that the ghost pepper and the Carolina Reaper pepper are used in similar ways. They are both extremely hot peppers, frequently used in hot sauces and to spice up dishes. Given the origin of the ghost pepper, it is commonly used to spice up curries and other dishes, while the Carolina Reaper pepper is more of an accent given its high heat.
You can get hot sauces of both of these different types of peppers, but the Carolina Reaper hot sauce will be much hotter than the ghost pepper version! In fact, the Carolina Reaper is typically used in hot sauce competitions and spicy food fads, while the ghost pepper is an easier pepper to cook with given its milder heat.
Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper: Origin and How to Grow
The ghost pepper and the Carolina Reaper pepper were made to challenge the Scoville scale and just how hot you can make peppers. However, the ghost pepper is much older than the Carolina Reaper pepper. While the Carolina Reaper pepper originated in the United States, the Ghost Pepper originated in India. Both of these pepper varieties are easy to grow in your own backyard, with plenty of sunlight and water oh, and they both produce a number of peppers per plant.
Ghost Pepper vs Carolina Reaper: Scoville Scale
While you won’t be able to tell this difference without tasting them, there is a difference between the spiciness of the ghost pepper and the spiciness of the Carolina Reaper pepper. For example, the Carolina Reaper ranks higher than the ghost pepper on the Scoville scale, or the scale used to measure how hot a pepper is.
Looking at the numbers in more detail, the average ghost pepper is roughly 1 million on the Scoville scale, while the Carolina Reaper varies in heat from 1.5 to 2 million. To put things into perspective, Tabasco only ranks around 5,000 on the Scoville scale!
Which Tastes Better Ghost Pepper or Carolina Reaper?
Both of these peppers have a surpising and unexpected sweetness, but the Carolina Reaper has been selectively bred to be possibly the sweetest among the super-hot peppers proving that it isn’t always about the heat. In fact, the Carolina Reaper is renowned for its delightful fruity taste – at least for the first few seconds.
So, relish the fruity flavor during that brief moment in time because once the intense spiciness takes over, it might be some time before you can truly savor anything else!
Furthermore, the Carolina Reaper has been said to be about 2 million SHUs on the Scoville scale which means that it basically doubles the heat of the Ghost Pepper.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Andreas Häuslbetz
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