The Carolina Reaper chile was developed in South Carolina by Ed Currie, owner and operator of the Pucker Butt Pepper Company. Currie began growing chile peppers as a hobby and when he heard about the power of the capsaicin in peppers as a cancer fighter, he began growing for cancer research. His breeding and seed development goals were mainly for science. The South Carolina pepper grower has often donated half of his pepper harvest to scientists for cancer research. “HP22B” was created by crossing a Pakistani “naga viper” with a sweet, red habanero pepper. He didn’t anticipate the response to this new “superhot” pepper. The process for determining a distinct variety can take a decade or more, and requires a new variety to reach stability. In order for a chile pepper to be considered “stable” and to be considered a distinctly new variety, it has to self-pollinate for anywhere from five to eight generations. The Carolina Reaper was officially named in 2012, after ten years of growing, testing and stabilizing. Currie had the pepper initially tested at Winthrop University in 2010, where it received its first Scoville rating of 1,474,000 units, eventually earning it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2013. Since then, the average rating of the Carolina Reaper has increased and has peaked at well above 2 million Scoville units. Over the past ten years, as more and more hot chiles are bred and developed, the title for World’s Hottest has changed hands several times. As of summer 2019, the Carolina Reaper is still number one!