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NMSU's Chile Pepper Institute gets fired up with 'Holy Jolokia' hot sauce

Looking to give your next dish an added spicy kick? It absolutely doesn't get any hotter than Holy Jolokia hot sauce. The blend is produced by CaJohns Fiery Foods and is made from Bhut Jolokia chile peppers - certified by New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute as the hottest peppers on the planet.



Holy Jolokia hot sauce is made from Bhut Jolokia chile peppers - certified by New Mexico State University as the hottest chiles on the planet. (NMSU Photo by Harrison Brooks)

"I think this is a fun product and it brings a lot of publicity to New Mexico State University," said Paul Bosland, director of the Chile Pepper Institute and widely recognized as the world's foremost authority on chile peppers. "It helps further cement New Mexico as the chile capital of the world."

In 2006, the Guinness Book of Records confirmed that Bosland had discovered the world's hottest chile pepper in the Bhut Jolokia. At more than one million Scoville Heat Units (SHU), Bhut Jolokia is nearly twice as hot as Red Savina, the chile pepper variety it replaced as the world's hottest. As a reference, New Mexico green chile contains about 1,500 SHUs and an average jalapeno measures about 10,000 SHUs.

"We didn't want to make it too hot, because we wanted people to enjoy it and be able to taste the uniqueness of the Bhut Jolokia," Bosland said.

This is the first time the Chile Pepper Institute has partnered with a private company to make a chile product. A five-ounce bottle of Holy Jolokia retails for $10 and is available by calling (575) 646-3028 or visiting www.chilepepperinstitute.org or www.cajohns.com. A portion of the sales will help fund research and education at the
Chile Pepper Institute, the only organization in the world devoted to education, research and archiving information related to chile peppers.

"Chile peppers are so popular worldwide. Then, when you have something like this, people just go crazy," said Danise Coon, program coordinator for the Chile Pepper Institute. She routinely sees orders from around the world for seeds and other products from the institute.

Bosland said the Bhut Jolokia chiles used for the hot sauce are grown in India, where they were originally found. Since being certified as the world's hottest pepper, Bhut Jolokia production in the area has increased more than 25 percent - a welcome increase for farmers in a traditionally poor region of the country.

The Chile Pepper Institute is part of NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. The institute's Fundraising Leadership Council is in the process of raising $10 million for an endowed chair to continue the legacy of NMSU's chile pepper research and to establish a new, expanded Chile Pepper Institute facility featuring a tourist venue, conference, seminar and teaching rooms, a sustainable teaching and demonstration garden, and a state-of-the-art greenhouse.