Ghost Pepper 911 - How to Grow the 2nd Hottest Chili on the Planet

Bhut Jolokia Rated at 1,041,427 on the Scoville Scale

ghost pepper how to grow
I'll admit I'm not a fan of overly painful foods, however, Wendie and I are intrigued by the possibility, so we've recently researched how to grow our own Ghost Peppers.

In 2007, the Guinness Book of World Records named the Bhut Jolokia, more commonly referred to at the Ghost Pepper, as the hottest chili on the planet, coming in at a mind-boggling 1.04 million on the Scoville scale.  
This number has been surpassed in the record books by the Trinidad 'Butch T' in 2011 at 1.4 million on the Scoville scale.

To put that into perspective, the humble Jalapeno tops out at only 10k on the scale. If anything, the plants are attractive, and can be distilled into a pepper spray beyond compare should the zombie apocalypse occur while we're gardening.

Starting the Ghost Pepper Seedlings

hot pepper seedlings
First of all, if your local garden center has these bad boys on the shelf come spring, I want to know your hook-up. But for most of us, growing Ghost Peppers starts with seeds. Ghost is the premier online retailer for most things Ghost Pepper related, and they are our source for seeds.

Paulie, the guy who runs the joint, recommends using Rapid Rooter to get the seedlings up and running, though natural sprouting should happen in about 14 days. As such, start your seedlings well in advance of the last frost date. Once up and the seed leaves have given way to maturing leaves, move the plants into larger containers with a 3/4 and 1/4 mix of starter soil and your garden mix (I'm on the Mel's Mix kick myself).

Transplanting The Ghost Peppers Outside

ghost pepperPeppers love the hot sun, and Ghost Peppers are no exception. Here in New Hampshire, we won't even think of dropping peppers in the ground until June, so in the meantime, our kitchen windows resemble dense jungle at times.

Once the weather has steadied to days hovering above 70 degrees, it's time to transplant the young seedlings to their new home. In a square foot garden, plant two per foot so they are touching but not crowded.

This contact with a similar plant will invigorate the growth hormones and make your plants take off. Once the bushes start to fill out, cull out one and remove to another planting spot, as these bushes will fill out like mad by the end of July.

Use Caution When Gardening

ghost pepper how to cookAs a word of warning, be cautious when gardening around your mature, fruited Ghost Pepper plants. The still ripening fruits excrete an oil to keep pests away.

A simple brush by can have you in agony for hours afterward just by skin contact alone. The fruits ripen to a bright red, which is why they are revered as ornamental plantings, but this also serves as a warning to animals to keep clear.

Just as a colorful insect notifies predators to back off with outrageous color, so do the peppers to the same affect.

Using Your Chili Harvest

For us, it will simply be enough to raise an exotic in our garden to add some color against the greens and yellows. However, we are also curious sorts, and have laid out a potential recipe for a hot sauce only a Texan could love, thanks to Paulie, once again, at Ghost

He recommends drying the peppers for at least a month to start, then soaking them in vinegar for a few days. Drop the mix to a blender along with tomato puree, salt, and garlic, and blend for 1/2 an hour. Once well sauced, carefully move the sauce to a pan and boil at 200 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool, and bottle with a warning label.

Looks like we might just have our Yankee swap gift ideas for next year already.

We love sharing our homesteading adventures with you all, and truly enjoy reading your feedback. Have you ever grown ghost peppers or something similar? Let us know by joining the conversation below!


Lisa Lombardo said…
These peppers are crazy hot...too hot for me, and I like hot peppers! You're featured on Farm Fresh Tuesdays on The Self Sufficient HomeAcre this week! Congratulations :)
WT Abernathy said…
Woo hoo! Thank you, Lisa:)
Yes, the peppers. They are beautiful, but not something we'll be eating-
Julie Murphree said…
I'm not a hot, hot pepper fan either, but this article certainly has me wondering if it wouldn't be fun to grow! Saw this on Farm Fresh Tuesdays at The Self Sufficient HomeAcre - great article!
WT Abernathy said…
Hi Juile!
Thanks for stopping in:) Yes, these are waaaaay too hot for normal human consumption, but what a story!